Bulls fall short despite strong showing

After winning their first tournament of the season by a 27-stroke margin, the Bulls backed that up with another strong performance. However, they were unable to edge out a win over Eastern Tennessee, finishing second with two players in the top five.

With 12 teams on the field at the Inverness Intercollegiate Invitational, which took place Monday and Tuesday, USF and Eastern Tennessee were able to break away from the pack early. Both teams shot 11-over through 36 holes to gain a share of the lead, with the closest team 12 shots behind.

The Bulls had a chance to take the lead in the final round but faltered later, shooting 17-over, which landed them in second place (28-over), two shots behind Eastern Tennessee.

“In this game, you lose more than you win,” coach Steven Bradley said. “It was a great performance and I don’t expect this close loss to carry into the next tournament.”

The Bulls didn’t fair well on the front nine of the course – one that has hosted many PGA tour events – shooting 12-over as a team through six holes to start the day. The Bulls dug themselves a hole too deep to crawl out of.

“We weren’t playing with the leaders so we didn’t really know how they were doing,” Bradley said. “We knew we were running out of holes and started pressing to make shots.”

Though they couldn’t secure back-to-back wins, a consistent effort will give the team momentum going into their next tournament.

Freshman Claudio Correa and senior Trey Valentine had a strong showing, with Correa finishing third (4-over) and Valentine tying for fourth (5-over).

“(Correa) is unbelievably talented,” Bradley said. “For it only being his second collegiate event, he played very well. It just shows that he’s the real deal.”

Correa followed the team’s trend, shooting a tournament-leading 1-under in the first round, but he wasn’t able to sustain his early success as he shot a combined 5-over in the remaining two rounds.

“It felt nice,” Correa said. “I played good on a difficult course. We lost, but we’re going harder for the next tournament.”

Junior Chase Koepka finished 18th out of the 69 golfers in attendance, shooting 12-over for the tournament. Sophomore Rigel Fernandes and Junior Askel Olsen rounded out the team, finishing for 20th (13-over) and 36th (20-over), respectively.

USF will look to keep the momentum rolling as they travel to Hartford, Wisconsin on Oct. 5 to compete in the Erin Hills Collegiate tournament.