May 19, 2008
ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF men's golf team concluded its successful 2007-08 campaign this past weekend, competing at the NCAA West Regional in Bremerton, Wash. The year included tournament titles, ample time in the national rankings and several individual accolades for the Knights.
Back to the Postseason
For the second-consecutive year, the Knights earned an invitation to the NCAA Regionals. UCF participated in the NCAA West Regional. The squad earned the ninth seed at the regional and competed against some of the nation's top teams on the west coast, including No. 2 Southern California, No. 4 UCLA, No. 9 Florida State and No. 11 Stanford.
After leading the Knights to the 2008 NCAA West Regional, head coach Nick Clinard has now guided UCF to the postseason on four occasions. His squads have made regional appearances n 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008. The 2007-08 season served as Clinard's seventh campaign in Orlando.
The Knights spent the majority of the 2007-08 campaign in the top 25 of the national rankings. The squad entered the top 25 in late October and then remained in the polls for the rest of the regular season. After claiming the UCF Rio Pinar Invitational in Orlando in late February, the Knights rose to 17th in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index and 19th in the Golfstat NCAA Head-to-Head Standings. Golfstat is used by the NCAA for its official rankings.
For the first time since the 2003-04 season, the Knights won two tournaments during the year. On Feb. 26, the squad won its home event, taking the title at the UCF Rio Pinar Invitational in Orlando. The tournament victory was the first for UCF since it won the same event in 2005. UCF teammates Greg Forest and Mike Stern shared medalist honors. The Knights finished at 846 (-18), 12 strokes ahead of runner-up Wichita State. UCF claimed its second crown on April 14, winning the UK Bluegrass Invitational in Lexington, Ky. The Knights finished the event, which was played in less than ideal weather conditions, 16 shots ahead of Missouri and Murray State, who tied for second. Four Knights finished in the top six in the individual standings. On the final day of play at the tournament, the temperature hovered around 40 degrees.
In addition to winning a pair of tournaments, the Knights posted three other top-five finishes. In October, UCF finished third at the 16-team Prestige at PGA WEST in Palm Springs, Calif. Two Knights recoded top-10 showings at the tournament. The team also finished third in October at the UNCG Bridgestone Collegiate Championship in Greensboro, N.C. The tournament was the final of the fall for UCF. In April, the Knights tied for fifth at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate in Austin, Texas.
A Fresh Face
The lone Knight to play in all 12 of the team's events in 2007-08, David Johnson garnered Conference USA Newcomer of the Year honors following the league championship in April. The junior, who joined UCF in the fall after attending Brevard Community College for two years, has been the team's most consistent player this season. He has posted a 73.2 stroke average and recorded five top-10 showings. Johnson had 11 par or better rounds, which tied him with Greg Forest for first on the squad. In addition to garnering C-USA's Newcomer of the Year award, Johnson was also named to the all-conference first team.
After a successful regular-season campaign, Greg Forest joined David Johnson on the All-Conference USA First Team. The junior participated in 11 of UCF's 12 tournaments and recorded four top-10 finishes. Forest boasted a 73.3 stroke average. He tied with Johnson for first on the team after totaling 11 rounds with par or better play. Forest shared co-medalist honors at the UCF Rio Pinar Invitational in February with teammate Mike Stern. He posted an eight-under 64 in the second round and finished at 205 (-11). In October, Forest had a strong showing at the UNCG Bridgestone Collegiate Championship in Greensboro, N.C. He placed third at 212 (-4) after carding a six-under 66 in the final round.
Mike Stern played well for the Knights during his sophomore campaign, especially during the spring. On the year, he competed in eight tournaments. Stern had a pair of top-10 finishes, with both coming in the spring. At the UCF Rio Pinar Invitational in Orlando, Stern shared co-medalist honors with teammate Greg Forest. In the second round, Stern posted an eight-under 64. He finished the event at 205 (-11). Stern also registered a strong performance in April at the UK Bluegrass Invitational in Lexington, Ky. He tied for sixth at 225 (+12).
Kyle Cobb did not make his collegiate debut until February, but certainly made his mark for the Knights in 2007-08. The freshman competed in three events for UCF, including the NCAA West Regional in Bremerton, Wash. In April, Cobb was the top UCF player at the Conference USA Championship in Texarkana, Ark. He tied for eighth at the event and was the only rookie to finish in the top 10. Cobb posted a pair of one-under 71s in the first two rounds and finished at one-over 217. In February, he made his collegiate debut at the UCF Rio Pinar Invitational in Orlando. Cobb participated in the event as an individual and tied for 12th (214, -2). He also began the tournament with two rounds of one-under 71. Cobb finished the year with a 73.4 stroke average.
Giwon Suh played in five tournaments for the Knights, all during the spring. The senior posted a pair of top-five finishes. His best showing of the year came in early April at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate in Austin, Texas. Suh tied for fourth at 216 (+3). He followed that tournament up with a fifth-place showing a week later at the UK Bluegrass Invitational in Lexington, Ky. Suh was UCF's top performer at the NCAA West Regional in Bremerton, Wash., tying for 52nd. On the year, he recorded a 74.0 stroke average and had three rounds of par or better play.
During the season, four Knights garnered Conference USA Golfer of the Week honors. Greg Forest, Mike Stern and Giwon Suh were all honored during the spring. Forest and Stern shared the award on Feb. 27 after the pair tied for first at the UCF Rio Pinar Invitational in Orlando. Suh took honors on April 16 after helping UCF claim the UK Bluegrass Invitational title in Lexington, Ky.
Facing some of the nation's top teams in October, host UCF finished seventh at the Isleworth-UCF Collegiate Invitational presented by Ruth's Chris in nearby Windermere, Fla. The Knights finished ahead several nationally-ranked squads, including No. 6 Florida State and No. 8 Stanford. The seventh-place finish marked the Knights' best performance since the event's inception in 2004. The Knights (871, +7) finished five shots better than No. 20 South Carolina, who came in eighth.
Hitting the Books
The Knights were well represented when Conference USA announced its academic honor roll. Ten members of the squad, including Chris Anderson, Preston Brown, Kyle Cobb, Kyle Davis, Nico Donaldson, James Dunkley, Greg Forest, Brad Schneider and Giwon Suh, were honored for having a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Cobb was one of 27 total UCF student-athletes who received the C-USA Commissioner's Academic Medal for having a GPA of 3.75 or higher.
Frequent Flyer Miles
UCF traditionally faces a competitive schedule that takes the Knights to top courses around the nation and 2008 was no different. The Knights participated in 12 tournaments during the campaign and played in 10 different states. The squad played three events in Florida and also made visits to Alabama, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Washington.
Practice Makes Perfect
In the fall, UCF opened a new practice facility near campus. The facility, which is located at the Twin Rivers Golf Club in nearby Oviedo, features a six-acre short-game area, in addition to a driving range.