South Florida golfer bounces back at Lake Jovita

DADE CITY, Fla. — Knock him down and he gets right back up.

First-year University of South Florida standout Trey Valentine bounced back on Tuesday after posting a disappointing 4-over-par 76, a day earlier at the Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club.

The Vierra High School graduate finished final round play on Tuesday by carding a 3-under score of 69, and has been working hard to carry his success from the fall season into spring.

He finished tied for 12th, no doubt impressive for a freshman, but the greenhorn is wise beyond his years and recognizes the importance of cultivating his game from tee to green.

“I really want to improve my ball striking because my short game is so good,” said Valentine. “I figured if I could take that to a new level then I could maybe elevate my game to the next level.”

Valentine has set the bar high for success among freshmen so far this season, finishing in the top five of individual rankings in all three of the University of South Florida’s fall season tournaments. These results are remarkable but assistant coach Brennan Webb recognizes that there is still much work to be done.

“It’s a day-to-day battle for sure because like every young man that has dreams and goals, he is kind of looking too far ahead,” Webb said, describing his coaching experiences with the youngster. “He will learn to realize that he has a lot of things that it takes to be successful. If he wants to get to the next level he has things that he has to work on and he is realizing that.”

Support has been coming at Valentine from all different angles. He has also been able to turn to South Florida seniors Richard Kittlestad, Devin Patel, and Tommy Reihle to keep him in check and help maximize his performance.

“They have been very helpful. I’m a freshman and I make typical freshmen mistakes,” said Valentine. “They have been there if my ego is getting high to knock me down a couple of notches. If I am out of line with certain things, they are there to tell me that I am wrong. They have been through it so they know what it takes.”

Still, these senior players will not always be around to help keep Valentine grounded. Someday he will be a senior himself and these are the days that coach Webb seems to be looking forward to.

“In a couple of years we will hopefully have a team that will contend for national championships and Trey will be one of the cornerstones of that team” said Webb. “It’s a good foundation to have and to build off of, and we have a couple of very good recruits coming in next year as well.”

In the mean time Valentine has every intention of finishing his degree while keeping one eye on his chosen profession.

“I’m majoring in communication studies which has been good, but I am really hoping to turn pro in the future.”