Ranked 32nd nationally, UCF entered the final round in third, but recorded an 8-under 280 Tuesday to win the league title. Teams battled inclement weather the first two days of the tournament, and the Knights were tied for eighth after 18 holes Sunday.
“The conditions were so difficult for two-straight days. The mindset from our team was great. We were tied for eighth after the first day, but our guys never stopped talking about winning. This group really wanted to win this tournament. They certainly stepped up and did that,” UCF head coach Bryce Wallor said.
The Knights were led by freshman Greg Eason (Leicester City, England), who placed second at 6-under 210. He was joined in the top 10 by junior Brad Schneider (Valrico, Fla.), who concluded the three-day tournament at 1-under 215.
With the victory, UCF became the first C-USA program to win three-straight league titles since TCU claimed four in a row from 2002-05.
UCF’s 280 Tuesday marked the best round recorded during the tournament. Tulsa began Tuesday in first, but fell to third (868, +4), after posting a 291 (+3).
Eason tallied two birdies and an eagle as he posted a 69 (-3) on the final 18. Schneider carded a 2-under 70. Memphis’ Jonathan Fly took medalist honors at 209 (-7), finishing just one stroke ahead of Eason. The second-place showing marked Eason’s seventh top-10 finish of the year.
All five UCF golfers had par or better rounds Tuesday. Junior Connor Arendell (Cape Coral, Fla.), who tied for 13th overall at 1-over 217, recorded a 3-under 69. Senior Nuno Henriques (Funchal, Portugal) and freshman Kyle Wilshire (Georgetown, Ky.) both carded even-par 72s. Henriques tied for 26th at 221 (+5), and Wilshire tied for 38th (226, +10).
“These guys give their best every day,” Wallor said. “They give their best every day in practice. They are so competitive. They want to win. When they finished that first round, multiple guys said, ‘we can still win this.’ As a coach, that is what you want to hear.”
The tournament win was the third of the season and second of the spring for the Knights. Since Wallor took over the helm of the program in 2009, UCF has won five tournament crowns.
NCAA Regional competition will begin May 19.
1. UCF 293-289-280=862 (-2)
2. Memphis 281-299-284=864 (E)
3. Tulsa 289-288-291=868 (+4)
T4. UAB 291-294-286=871 (+7)
Houston 288-297-286=871 (+7)
2. Greg Eason 69-72-69=210 (-6)
T7. Brad Schneider 73-72-70=215 (-1)
T13. Connor Arendell 75-73-69=217 (+1)
T26. Nuno Henriqes 76-73-72=221 (+5)
T38. Kyle Wilshire 82-72-72=226 (+10)