Bulls Face Loaded Field at Valspar Collegiate
EVENT: Valspar Collegiate Championship
SCHEDULE: Sunday, March 19 – Tuesday, March 21
LOCATION: The Floridian, Palm City, Fla. (par 71, 7,114 yards)
LIVE SCORING: Golfstat.com
TWITTER UPDATES: @USFMGolf
By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA, MARCH 18, 2017 – Refreshed and refocused, USF men’s golf will face a loaded field in its return to competition at the Valspar Collegiate Championship.
USF’s first tournament since the prestigious Querencia Cabo Collegiate on Feb. 28 features six top-25 opponents, including No. 3 Oklahoma State and No. 10 Wake Forest. Action at the three-day event begins Sunday at 1:30 p.m. with 18 holes at The Floridian (par 71, 7,114 yards).
Head coach Steve Bradley was encouraged by what he saw from the Bulls the last time out in Mexico. USF finished the Cabo Collegiate with an 8-under 276, the team’s lowest round of the season that moved the Bulls up three spots to seventh place. USF has posted top-10 finishes in all seven events so far this season.
- Cristian DiMarco will tee off from the top of the lineup after earning conference player of the week honors. The junior from Longwood, Fla., tied for second among 80 competitors at the Cabo Collegiate that included seven top-25 programs. DiMarco matched his career best with a 4-under 67 in the opening round and finished at 8-under in his best performance as a Bull.
- Claudio Correa remains in the second spot and seeks his second top-25 finish of the season. The junior from Santiago, Chile ranks second on the team with a 72.5 scoring average in 17 rounds this season. Correa led the Bulls at Valspar in 2015 by placing fifth with a 4-under score.
- Rigel Fernandes also has past success to draw back on at Valspar. The senior from Bradenton, Fla., tied for sixth at the event in 2015, finishing a shot behind Correa at 3-under. Fernandes is tied for second on the team with seven rounds of par or better this season. He ranks third with a 73.0 scoring average through 17 rounds.
- Priyanshu Singh is one of three Bulls that have competed in all 20 rounds this season. The junior from Delhi, India has a 73.4 scoring average and placed fourth at the Georgia Southern Individual Collegiate before the spring season.
- Andre Leveque tied for 20th at the Georgia Southern individual event and returns to the lineup for the first time since the Gifford Collegiate on Nov. 9. The freshman from Windermere, Fla., has finished in the top 48 in all five of his outings this season with three top-25 performances.
Host Houston, No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 10 Wake Forest, No. 12 LSU, No. 14 Texas A&M, No. 18 Texas, No. 23 Arkansas, Florida State, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Minnesota, Memphis and North Texas.
Head coach Steve Bradley on the Bulls facing another loaded field at Valspar:
“We’re pretty fortunate. Between this place and Cabo, they’re two of the best in all of college golf. Not only from the quality of the golf course, but the quality of the field. This is an elite level field.”
Bradley on the Bulls’ approach after finishing off the Cabo Collegiate in impressive fashion:
“I just want our guys to build off the momentum and the positives we had that last round at Cabo. I just want them to believe in themselves. At this point, it’s more mental than physical for our team.”
Bradley on what the Bulls have been up to since the Cabo Collegiate:
“We took a little bit of time off. The guys kind of had the first half of spring break off and they came back to campus on Wednesday. It let them kind of do their own thing. I know a lot of them went to see their swing coach and it gave them a little down time.”
Bradley on Cristian DiMarco’s recent success:
“He played well for us down in Cabo, it was his best collegiate finish for him. He participated as an individual at the Gator, so I think he’s come out with a little bit of something to prove to himself and he’s been playing pretty well."
Bradley on Andre Leveque’s return to the lineup:
“Andre was low for us in qualifying, so he deserved the opportunity to get in. I have confidence in him and even more importantly, his teammates have confidence in him. He’s never seen the course before, so it’s going to be a little bit of a learning curve for him. But if just goes out and gets the ball in the hole, he’ll be good.”
- This marks the fourth consecutive season USF is competing at Valspar. The Bulls placed fourth in 2015 and eighth last year before making runs to the NCAA Championship.
- Valspar is the first of three events before the Bulls tee off at the American Athletic Conference Championship April 23-25 in Palm Harbor, Fla.
USF men’s golf returns four of seven players from the 2015-16 team that made program history with a return trip to the NCAA Championship. The Bulls have won the past two American Athletic Conference Championships in head coach Steve Bradley’s first two seasons with the program. Follow @USFMGolf on Twitter for the latest information concerning the program.