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Host Bulls trail defending champs by one stroke

The USF women’s golf team, third in the 2002 tournament, opened the first round of the 2003 Conference USA Tournament with a 307, one shot back of leader TCU.

Behind Brooke Tull, the defending individual champion who shot a first-round 72 to give her a three-shot lead, the fifth-ranked Horned Frogs held a three-shot advantage on the Bulls after 18 holes at the par-72 Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club in Dade City. TCU, the defending champion, also got a 75 from D’Rae Ward, who is tied for third.

The Bulls, fresh from a second-place finish at the Ryder Florida Women’s State Championship in Miami April 6, received a well-rounded effort from all five members. Two shots separated the Bulls’ highest and lowest scorers. Seniors Katie Ruhe and Kelly Martin had the day’s best scores for the host Bulls, stroking 4-over-par 76s. Juniors Megan Cushman, who recovered from a 42 on the front nine, and Jill Crowe tied for 18th by shooting 78. Senior Fany Schaeffer, who missed the East Regionals and the NCAA Tournament after hurting her wrist in last year’s C-USA Tournament, sandwiched those four with a 5-over-par 77 to tie for 12th.

USF, ranked 27th in Division I by, finished fifth at regionals in 2002 behind eventual national champion Duke and 24th out of 24 teams at the NCAA Tournament.

Men’s team five back after Round 1

The USF men’s golf team is within striking distance after one round at the C-USA Tournament. The host Bulls shot 290, five strokes behind the leader, Charlotte.

USF’s leader was Pablo Ceron, who shot a par 71 on the Lake Jovita Course in Dade City. Ceron’s score left him in a tie for eighth, as he went out in 35 and came home in 36. Just four strokes separated the Bulls’ quintet to give USF the most balanced team in the tournament. Dan Grassman fired a 75 to place him in a tie for 39th.

The 49ers were in front thanks to co-individual leader Russell Killough, who shot 68, and Mike Shamp’s 69, good enough to tie for third. UAB, with co-leader Clark Brown, and TCU were three shots behind Charlotte.

USF finished fourth a year ago, 16 shots back of champion TCU. Departed seniors Tele Wightman and Ricky Carrillo were the only USF golfers to finish in the top 20 a year ago, earning the pair All C-USA distinction.

The Bulls’ best finish was second place in the inaugural C-USA Tournament in 1996.

Directions to Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club: Take I-75 North to Exit 285 Dade City/New Port Richey; turn right on SR-52; turn left on Lake Jovita Boulevard.