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Men’s golf conference champs for third straight year

Junior Claudio Correa has now won the AAC tournament in each of his three years at USF.
ORACLE FILE PHOTO

USF men’s golf comfortably secured its third straight conference title Tuesday afternoon.

With second place 15 strokes behind, the Bulls led wire-to-wire in the AAC tournament that ran from Sunday to Tuesday afternoon at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor.

“This one’s a little different,” coach Steve Bradley said to the AAC Network after the win. “I felt the first couple years we had the best team (in the conference), but this year I think we were about like everybody else.”

In its 2015-2016 campaign, USF either won, or placed second in six of its 10 regular season matches before winning the conference.

This season, the Bulls had only notched one top-two finish entering Sunday, but caught fire in the conference tournament.

As a team, the Bulls maintained a fairly comfortable lead throughout, finishing 15 strokes ahead of co-runners-up Cincinnati and Houston to end the tournament.

However, the fight for the individual crown went down to the wire.

With the team title already clinched, USF junior Cristian DiMarco finished in a tie for first place with Houston's Michael Perras.

Both finishing 1-under par, the two played a single playoff hole that saw Perras come out on top.

“(DiMarco) was certainly disappointed that he didn’t pull through,” Bradley said moments before being drenched in ice-water by his players. “But I think that sting goes away when the team wins, and eventually those rings come in.”

With another title in the bag, the Bulls are turning their focus to the NCAA regional tournament, which will decide if the Bulls earn a trip back to the NCAA Championships in May, where they finished 26th out of 30 teams a year ago.