UCF junior Greg Eason made history Saturday afternoon at the NCAA Tempe Regional, held at Arizona State’s Karsten Golf Course. Eason took medalist honors at the regional, becoming the first Knight ever to win an individual NCAA Regional title.
In addition to Eason’s victory, the Knights tied for second as a team to advance to the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive year and the sixth in program history. No. 39 UCF finished the tournament 13-under and tied for runner-up honors with No. 15 Georgia. No. 3 UCLA won the team title, finishing -30. No. 22 Texas A&M and Arizona State rounded out the top five teams, which will all advance to the NCAA Championships.
Eason was in second place after the first round after shooting a 5-under 65. He carded a 63 in the second round to take the lead and move to 12-under for the tournament. His Friday score was the best individual round of the entire regional. Saturday, Eason tallied an even-par 70 to bring home the four-stroke victory.
“I picked a lot of good targets and was lucky enough to hit the targets,” Eason said. “I putted really well out there. With no wind, the ball goes a long way out here. I was a little conservative today, but tried to be aggressive as well. I managed to hit a lot of good shots and holed a lot of putts on the first two days.”
UCF head coach Bryce Wallor said Eason had been working toward this result throughout the season.
“Greg has been building all spring,” Wallor said. “He just continues to play well. He had a great round of golf yesterday and a very steady day today.”
UCF’s Ricardo Gouveia was also at the top of the leaderboard. He was under par in each round of the tournament (68-66-68) and tied for runner-up honors with UCLA’s Gonathan Garrick.
With the team finishing in a tie for second, Eason and Gouveia weren’t the only Knights who played well. Kyle Wilshire tied for 30th and was +2 for the tournament after finishing strong at -2 Saturday. Jose Joia was tied for 41st and was 1-under in the third round to finish at +5 for the tournament.
“This was the first time for us this year that we really had four guys contribute,” Wallor said. “We’ve had three guys play well at times. But this week, we got four guys to step up and play well throughout the event. I think it helped with the chemistry. Once they started feeling good, good things happened.”
Eason said knowing the entire team was playing well helped him finish strong.
“Toward the end, I started to get a sense we were doing all right,” Eason said. “I found out we were doing pretty good on 17. It always helps knowing the guys are doing well, too. Everyone looked pretty good on the course. It did help.”
The Knights will now prepare for the NCAA Championship, which will be held May 28-June 2 in Atlanta, Ga.
NCAA Tempe Regional Championship