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Men's Golf: PREPARE FOR WHAT'S AHEAD


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Looking forward to another great run by the Men's Golf team in the spring.

Last year they made the Final Eight in the NCAA Men's Golf Championship.

BULLS USE FALL SEASON TO PREPARE FOR WHAT'S AHEAD

December 02, 2015 
By  USF

By TOM ZEBOLD

USF Senior Writer

TAMPA, DEC. 2, 2015 – No. 28 USF men’s golf showed flashes of greatness during the fall and now the Bulls are putting themselves in a position for another outstanding spring season.

Head coach Steve Bradley’s squad started its 2015-16 campaign with two top-five finishes out of four events, including a 19-shot victory at The Jackrabbit in Nebraska on Sept. 28.

“The fall counts just as much as the spring does, but the fall is more about learning about these guys, what coaching techniques they respond to and what we need to work on,” Bradley said.

Chase KoepkaClaudio Correa and Rigel Fernandes returned to action after leading the Bulls to their first-ever NCAA Championship match play quarterfinal appearance last spring. Five other players needed to gain tournament experience as Bulls, so Bradley went with three different lineups this fall.

“All eight guys saw action at some point, whether it was in the team’s lineup or as an individual,” Bradley said. “That helped build competitiveness and it helps them down the road as we go toward the spring and the championship season.”

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USF’s big three helped newer players get acclimated to the Green and Gold way of doing things and all three 2015 PING All-America honorable mentions turned in some pretty impressive performances in the process.

Fernandes led the Bulls with a 72.3 stroke average this fall with four rounds of 71 or lower. The junior from Bradenton worked his way into the top 25 at two events and tied for 10th place at the AutoTrader.com Collegiate Classic.

Correa made a name for himself last seson, capturing his first tournament title and earning American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year honors. The sophomore from Chile played his way to co-champion status at the AutoTrader.com Collegiate Classic this fall and led the team with two top-10 finishes.

Koepka has provided the young lineup with senior leadership and led by example on the course, tying for second on the team with a 72.7 stroke average. The West Palm Beach native collected two top-25 finishes in three events and placed seventh at The Jackrabbit.

Bradley now knows he can count on other Bulls in the lineup after watching three players handle the pressure well in the fall.

Senior Aksel Olsen led the team with three top-25 performances and posted a 72.7 stroke average through 12 rounds. The native of Stavanger, Norway tied for fourth place at 3-under at the AutoTrader.com Collegiate Classic.

“He was a pleasant surprise because he was kind of a guy that was on the outside looking in last year,” Bradley said. “He really worked hard in the summer and brought a sense of confidence. His golf swing and his short game have gotten better. He’s always had the ability, but he’s gotten more consistent.”

Bradley also was pleasantly surprised with Cristian DiMarco and Oskar Bergqvist, who logged in their first rounds as Bulls.

DiMarco, a sophomore transfer from Kentucky, placed third as an individual at 5-under at the AutoTrader.com Collegiate Classic. Bergqvist, a freshman from Sweden, collected two top-25 finishes and placed second at the AutoTrader.com Collegiate Classic with an 8-under score.

USF continues to have great expectations after its historic finish last spring. Bradley said continuous focus on improvement throughout the midseason break from tournaments will be important if the Bulls want to get back to the level they were at last spring.

“We are really kind of wide open heading into the spring, very similar to where we were last fall. We survived the fall. It wasn’t great and it wasn’t terrible,” Bradley said.

USF will play six tournaments before defending their crown at the American Athletic Conference Championship May 1-3 in Lecanto, Fla. The Bulls’ spring season begins Saturday, Feb. 20 at the Gator Invitational in Gainesville. View the entire schedule HERE.

“We’re looking forward to the spring,” Bradley said. “I know what their game plans and their goals are for the offseason and for the spring. In a way, I wish it started tomorrow.”

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