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Ben Solomon/American Athletic Conference


May 14, 2016 

EVENT: NCAA Albuquerque, N.M., Regional
DATES: Monday, May 16-Wednesday, May 18
COURSE: University of New Mexico Championship Course (par-72, 7,555 yards)
TEE TIME: USF tees off Monday at 10 a.m. (EST)



USF Senior Writer

TAMPA, MAY 14, 2016 – Back-to-back American Athletic Conference champion USF will shoot for a return trip to the NCAA Championship finals Monday through Wednesday at the Albuquerque, N.M., Regional.

Third-seeded USF needs to be one of the low five teams out of 14 in the field to advance to the finals May 27-June 1 in Eugene, Ore. The Bulls have won four tournament titles this season and need one more to match the program record set last season.

“We’re in a really good spot, the guys are playing really well,” two-time American Coach of the Year Steve Bradley said. “It’s going to be difficult out there, but I think we’re going to be up for the challenge.”

USF made program history last season by advancing all the way to the NCAA Championship match play quarterfinals after a wire-to-wire win at the New Haven Regional. Three Bulls from that team – Chase Koepka, Claudio Correa, Rigel Fernandes – helped USF post a wire-to-wire, 20-shot victory at the American Athletic Conference Championship this spring.

USF will go with the same lineup that defended the conference title – American Player of the Year Aksel Olsen, Koepka, Correa, Fernandes and Cristian DiMarco. The No. 11/15 Bulls will take on a talented field that includes No. 3 USC, No. 11 Arizona State, No. 22 San Diego State, No. 27 Texas A&M, No. 34 NC State, host and 39th-ranked New Mexico, No. 46 Texas Tech, No. 52 TCU, No. 59 Iowa, No. 64 Liberty, U.S. Military Academy, Cleveland State and Wagner.

“The goal is the same goal we’ve always had, it’s to go out there and win,” Bradley said. “I think our regional is fairly tough, from the host school to having three other schools play that golf tournament every year. We certainly have to go out and play well, but that’s what we were going to need to do at any regional.”

USF headed to New Mexico early to get adjusted to a different time zone and conditions that will test the Bulls’ mental toughness.

“The golf course is certainly different than anything we’ve really played. It’s a little over 5,000 feet above sea level, so the golf ball is going to go a lot further,” Bradley said. “We’ll try to make sure we get the guys as comfortable as possible. If a guy normally hits an 8 iron 155-160 yards, out there it’s going to anywhere from 8-12, maybe even sometimes 15 percent longer.”

Learn about USF’s lineup below:


Aksel Olsen: The senior from Stavanger, Norway was named American Athletic Conference Player of the Year after capturing the league’s individual title. The second-year Bull has thrived as everyday player in the lineup, leading the team with two title victories, nine top-25 finishes and five top-10 performances in 10 events. Olsen is a semifinalist for the Jack Nicklaus Award and ranks second on the team with a 71.0 scoring average.

Bradley’s Take: “Aksel is pretty confident right now. He’s not hitting it the best he’s hit it all year, but his confidence level is through the roof. He’s putting really well and he just knows at the end of the day he’s going to sign a good scorecard and post a good score.”





Chase Koepka: The senior from West Palm Beach owns the USF record with four career victories after winning the Mission Inn Spring Spectacular on March 13. The unanimous all-conference selection leads the Bulls with a 70.9 scoring average this season with seven finishes in the top 25 and five top-10 performances in nine events. The Nicklaus Award semifinalist recently advanced through U.S. Open local qualifying by carding a 67.

Bradley’s Take: “Chase is probably playing the best he’s played all year with his confidence, his putting and his chipping. He’s just in a really good spot mentally and physically with his game. I would look for him to continue that out in New Mexico.”





Claudio Correa: The sophomore from Santiago, Chile is on a roll with top-10 finishes in his last three events after placing fourth at the conference tournament. The unanimous all-conference pick has a 72.2 scoring average this season (70.2 in past three events) with five top-10 finishes overall. Correa earned co-champion status by going 7-under at The Jackrabbit on Sept. 28.

Bradley’s Take: “Claudio has kind of been on this rise the last five or six weeks. It started in Augusta the first part of April and progressed through NC State and conference. He’s just getting better and better, I think he’s in a good spot.”





Rigel Fernandes: The junior from Bradenton has been steady all season, ranking third on the team with a 71.9 scoring average with six finishes in the top 25 and four in the top 10. The all-conference selection set the program’s 18-hole scoring record (63) and top 54-hole mark (197) on the way to a four-shot win at the SunTrust Gator Invitational on Feb. 21.

Bradley’s Take: “Since the fall, he’s continued to fine tune his game and get better and better. He’s in a pretty good spot with his short game and his long game is there. He’s going to play really well.”






Cristian DiMarco: The sophomore from Longwood, Fla., transferred in from Kentucky and has been a dependable player in the lineup this season. The son of PGA Tour player Chris DiMarco has a 72.7 scoring average through 30 rounds with five top-25 finishes in 10 events. DiMarco has placed in the top 25 in the past two events and has two top-10 performances to his credit as a Bull.

Bradley’s Take: “Cristian just continues to get better. He had a 77 scoring average at Kentucky last year and this year he’s at 72 and some change. His game has improved significantly in the last 12 months. He spent some time with his swing instructor over the last week. He fights for every golf shot, he doesn’t quit and I think the team has all the faith in the world that he’s going to come out and play well.”






University of Southern California


Arizona State University


University of South Florida [American Athletic Conference]


San Diego State University


Texas A&M University, College Station


North Carolina State University


University of New Mexico


Texas Tech University


Texas Christian University


University of Iowa


Liberty University [Big South Conference]


U.S. Military Academy [Patriot League]


Cleveland State University [Horizon League]


Wagner College [Northeast Conference]




Hayden Shieh, Santa Clara University


Patrick Fishburn, Brigham Young University


Frederik Dreier, University of Texas at El Paso


Trevor Clayton, California State University, Fresno


Nicholas Dilio, Saint Peter’s University

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College / Men

Staff picks: 2016 NCAA men’s regionals

May 14, 2016


NCAA flags

School flags fly during the 2015 NCAA Men's Championship in Bradenton, Fla. (Tracy Wilcox)


NCAA men’s regionals kick off on May 16 at six sites around the country. The top five teams in each of the six 13- to 14-team fields will advance to the national championship, to be played May 27-June 1 at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club.

Our men’s college golf gurus have predicted which five teams (in order) will advance out of each of six regionals.

Regional sites and staff picks listed below:

Lance Ringler

Albuquerque (N.M.) Regional: South Florida, USC, Texas A&M, Arizona State, New Mexico

Brentley Romine

Albuquerque (N.M.) Regional: Arizona State, South Florida, USC, New Mexico, Iowa

Kevin Casey

Albuquerque (N.M.) Regional: South FloridaUSC, Arizona State, TCU, New Mexico


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  1. First round play is underway

    Sunny and windy, blowing 20-30 with gusts up to 40mph. #patience


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40 minutes ago, JTrue said:

It's a tough course, to be sure. even the leaders are struggling, only two guys under par. Hopefully things get better as play goes on and they get more familiar with the course. In all fairness, they just need to get to the next round. The championship won't be won here.

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