What an Eventful Fall for UCF Golf

Nov. 17, 2006

Not many schools can say they host a very prestigious tournament during an athletic season. But to have two in the same sport in a span of a just a month is something special. That was exactly what the UCF men's and women's golf programs experienced this fall, while they also still had time to record some impressive performances on the road.

Men's Recap
It all started in early September with the men's team hitting the links first, and the tournament certainly was not in a familiar environment. The Golden Knights traveled to Tanagura, Japan, for the Topy Cup that featured four American universities competing alongside six Japanese schools. Following a 296 in the first round, UCF posted a better team score each day of the event and placed fourth overall. It was just six shots shy of Kentucky and Arizona State, which tied for second. Sophomore Greg Forest was instrumental for the Golden Knights, carding a four-under 68 in the first round en route to a tie for fourth individually.

When UCF returned to the United States, it took a couple of weeks off before venturing to the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate Sept. 25-26 in Birmingham, Ala. This time, it was sophomore Preston Brown taking charge by tying for seventh and propelling the Golden Knights to fourth out of a field of 15 programs. Sophomore Kyle Davis then matched his teammate at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate Oct. 7-8 in Zionsville, Ind., also tying for seventh to help UCF earn third place.

One final event remained for the men's squad, and it has become one of the premier tournaments in all of college athletics. The Isleworth-UCF Invitational was held Oct. 22-24 at the Isleworth Golf & Country Club in Windermere, and included 18 of the top programs in the United States. With the course being considered as the toughest on the entire college circuit, UCF stumbled in the first round only to shoot 18 strokes better the next afternoon.

In the final round, the Golden Knights tied the sixth-best team score to complete the invitational in 18th place. But thanks to two final days of impressive golf, they learned that they could definitely play a factor when the NCAA Regionals roll along in May.

Head coach Nick Clinard also had to feel good about the 2006-07 squad when the Golden Knights were in the top 25 (No. 24) of Golfstat's rankings for the first time ever during his tenure. Meanwhile, freshman Nuno Henriques spent a few days in South Africa playing for the Portuguese National Team at the 2006 World Amateur Team Championships Oct. 26-29. After participating in just two collegiate events, his game was on during the four-round tournament as he tied for 16th out of 208 players from 70 different countries.

Women's Recap
Freshmen were also making an exciting mark on the UCF women's team this fall. Sara Hurwitch, Victoria Tomko and Leigh Crosby participated in all four tournaments on the schedule and they were introduced to the college game in a mind-boggling way.

In Daytona Beach, the Golden Knights hosted the NCAA Fall Preview Sept. 22-24 that, similar to the men's tournament at Isleworth, featured 18 programs that will assuredly all contend for a national title in the near future. With some players in awe of the talent in the field, many teams also found it tough to play in the severe heat and on the challenging LPGA International's Legends Course.

UCF concluded the event in 18th position, however it discovered each of the newcomers had the potential inside of them since all three recorded at least one round of 78 or lower, highlighted by Crosby's 73 in the final round. Along with senior Holly Boot, UCF's four top performers all carded rounds in the 70s during the final day of the tournament.

The Gold and Black got right back to work the following weekend at the Wildcat Invitational Sept. 30-Oct. 1 in Lexington, Ky. A 332 in the opening round did not affect UCF in the second round, as Hurwitch's 74 helped provide UCF with a 309 during day two. It eventually placed 10th with Mayule Tomimbang being the Golden Knights' top finisher (tied for 16th).

Tominbang and Crosby then worked their magic in round one of the Lady Pirate Intercollegiate in Greenville, N.C. Oct. 20-22, as they both fired an even-par 72. Close behind, Tomko was one-over and Hurwitch sat at two-over entering the second round. Hurwitch ended up notching her first top 10 in her young collegiate career, tying for sixth, all while lifting the Golden Knights into a tie for fourth out of 20 programs. Her three-round score provided her with Co-Golfer of the Week accolades by the Conference USA office.

Wrapping up the fall, UCF earned 14th in the highly contested Auburn Derby Oct. 27-29 in Alabama. Hurwitch led the team for the second-straight week, tying for 22nd in a 36-hole event that saw the first round washed out due to rain.

In her first full season at UCF, head coach Emilee Klein has quickly become a players' coach, which has helped all of the young talent she has in front of her settle into the college environment. When the grueling spring schedule hits in February, the Golden Knights will be ready.