By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - Trey Valentine is right where he needs to be with one more round to go at the NCAA Athens Regional.
USF's star freshman birdied his final hole of the second round to post an even-par 71 and he moved up six spots to a tie for eighth place at 2 under at the University of Georgia Golf Course.
Valentine needs to be the top individual outside of the top five finishing teams to advance to the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship finals May 29 to June 3 at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. The Melbourne, Fla., native is one shot off making the cut heading into Saturday's final round.
"That's the type of round that wins you a golf tournament. It's not the 69 or the 67, it's the 71 even-par round that could have easily been a 79," USF head coach Chris Malloy said. "Good players and winners are able to put a Band-Aid on it and turn it into an even-par round just to give himself an opportunity going into tomorrow."
Valentine carded a 69 in Thursday's first round and found himself in a tough spot when he opened Friday's play with bogeys on three of his first nine holes. The Big East Freshman of the Year roared back with two birdies and seven pars on the front nine to get back to even par for the round.
"He hung in there. This was a round that at the beginning of the year he would have shot a 79 in," Malloy said. "He was able to keep his composure and do the things we've worked on all year. He was able to keep himself in the golf tournament."
Follow Saturday's final round online at Golfstat.com.