By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - Trey Valentine's special debut season as a Bull will continue next week in Athens, Ga.
USF's star freshman has been selected to compete in the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships and he will start his national title run in regional play at the University of Georgia May 17-19.
"It's a great honor for anybody, but especially for a freshman to be able to do this," USF head coach Chris Malloy said. "It says a lot about his game and his future as a Bull."
A total of 27 teams and 15 individuals not on those teams will be competing at six regional sites. The top five teams and the top individual not on those squads from each regional advance to the finals that will be held May 29-June 3 at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
"The key is to give yourself a chance and he's done that," Malloy said. "The beauty of the NCAA tournament, just like any other sports, is everyone starts fresh. He has got as good of an opportunity as any of the other teams and the individuals that are teeing it up all across the country."
Valentine led the Bulls with five top-10 finishes, six top-25 finishes and a 71.9 stroke average through 24 rounds. The Melbourne, Fla., native started his freshman campaign with three straight finishes in the top five in the fall. His top finish of the season came early in the spring when he tied for third place at 7 under against some of the top golfers in the nation at the Seminole Intercollegiate on March 11 in Tallahassee.
"He was incredibly consistent throughout the fall and even throughout the beginning of the spring semester," Malloy said. "You never know how they're going to react as freshman, but he did a really good job and has put himself into a position to advance through and win a national championship as an individual."