BATON ROUGE, La., MAY 16, 2017 – USF men's golf is determined to finish strong at the Baton Rouge Regional after the Bulls' mental toughness was tested early and often in Tuesday's second round.
USF (+42) endured a tough run on the back nine in the morning and fell two spots to a tie for 12th place at LSU's University Club (par 72, 7,302 yards). None of the 14 teams in the field shot under par a day after three teams accomplished the feat.
No. 6 LSU (-4) extended its lead to seven shots and is followed in the top five by No. 19 Duke (+3), No. 18 Virginia (+4), No. 29 Northwestern (+12) and No. 7 Oregon (+12). The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams from each of the six 54-hole regional tournaments will advance to the NCAA Championship rounds.
Jimmy Jones shook off a 9-over showing on the back nine and collected three of his five total birdies during his 3-under performance on the front nine. The junior from Tampa is tied for 44th place with teammate Priyanshu Singh at 9-over.
Singh, a junior from Delhi, India, birdied the par-5, 578-yard third hole and went 1-over on the front nine to finish the day with a 78. Singh made par or better on seven of nine holes on the front nine and finished with 11 overall.
- Jimmy Jones leads the Bulls with 23 pars and six birdies through the first 36 holes.
- USF is making its fifth straight NCAA Regional appearance after winning its third consecutive American Athletic Conference Championship title.
Head coach Steve Bradley on the team's performance in the second round:
“It was a pretty frustrating day. We didn't get off to a very good start. I kind of felt that getting off the backside, which is the more difficult of the nines, if we could get out of there early before the wind really blew, did something positive and then turn to the front, which we played pretty solid yesterday, I thought we could have had a pretty good day. We got off to a rough start. I don't know if it was nerves or if they tried to do too much too early. This golf course penalizes you. You get behind and it forces you to make some poor decisions mentally. Combine that with poor execution and it just kind of snowballs out of control.”
Bradley on Jimmy Jones' impressive finish after a rough start on the back nine, particularly on No. 11:
“Jimmy kind of had a little, strange hole, probably the worst hole he's ever had in playing golf. Sometimes that happens and you learn a lot about somebody when they face adversity like that and how they respond… He shot 3-under on his final nine holes, which was the front nine out here. It speaks to his character, battling even when the team is out of it right now. It shows his pride and I was really proud of him for that effort.”
“Pri, he's played solid. He was playing solid leading into it. I know he's not happy with his round, and quite frankly I don't think anybody is. He tries, he's solid on every golf shot. He ran into a little bit of trouble finishing the back nine, but he's a good kid. He tries hard and hopefully he comes out tomorrow and plays another solid round.”
Bradley's thoughts heading into the final round:
“It's going to be the last round of the year. You can sulk and feel bad about where we stand right now with the season ending, or you can show some pride and do something about it. Every shot counts, whether you finish 11th or ninth, you'd much rather finish ninth. It's certainly not what we wanted to finish the year on, but tomorrow is going to be about pride and seeing what these guys are made of. Hopefully they can end the year on a positive note and head into the summer knowing they tried their best in their last college round of the year.”
Cristian DiMarco (Longwood, Fla.) will lead off USF's final round from the 10th hole Wednesday at 9:25 a.m. (EST). Follow the action in progress HERE.
USF men's golf returns three players from the 2015-16 team that made program history with a return trip to the NCAA Championship. The Bulls have won the past three American Athletic Conference Championships in head coach Steve Bradley's first three seasons with the program. Follow @USFMGolf on Twitter for the latest information concerning the program.