Behind a tremendous performance by freshman Claudio Correa, the USF men's golf team advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships by finishing the medal play portion of the tournament in sixth place on Monday afternoon. Their team score of +16 on the brutal layout at The Concession earned them a match play date with third-seeded Georgia tomorrow morning at 7 a.m.
"It was a roller coaster, but they kept battling. As they've done all tournament, as they've done all year," said Bulls head coach Steve Bradley. "They never give up."
Correa was also in contention for the individual championship for most of the day, but several missed putts on the front nine of the course (which played as his back nine as the Bulls started on the 10th tee) kept him from contending. He finished with a score of -4 for sixth place as an individual, four strokes behind SMU's Bryson Dechambeau at -8.
"I was pretty good on the front nine. I knew that I had a chance, I just tried to do my best, but my putting wasn't really good on the front nine, my back nine," Correa said. "But I think it was a pretty good weekend."
This is the best finish ever for a USF men's golf team at an NCAA Championship, whose 17th place finish in 1987 was the previous team record. The Bulls final team scores were Correa (-4), Chase Koepka (+5), Rigel Fernandes (+7), Ryan Fricker (+15) and Trey Valentine (+15).
The format of the tournament now changes to match play, which Bradley says will change how the team should operate. "We've done some head-to-head matches amongst the team (but) you still can't simulate what's going to happen tomorrow."
"It's a different game. A different strategy on certain holes... there's a bit of mind games that go on with it."
Here are the tee times and match-ups for tomorrow morning's quarterfinal:
If USF wins, they'll be right back on the course tomorrow afternoon for a semifinal vs. either Vanderbilt or LSU that will tee off at 1:30 p.m. The final will be contested Wednesday.
Live coverage from The Concession on the Golf Channel will begin at 10:30 a.m., who will also show the entire semifinal matches in full.
There is no admission charge for the remaining two days of the tournament, and hospitality tent passes begin at $30 that include unlimited beer, wine, and food.