UCF Men's Golf Claims C-USA Championship

April 21, 2009

SORRENTO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Behind the play of junior Simon Ward (County Monaghan, Ireland) and freshman Blayne Barber (Lake City, Fla.), the 19th-ranked UCF men's golf team claimed the 2009 Conference USA Championship Tuesday at the RedTail Golf Club. Ward took medalist honors for the Knights, and was followed by Barber in second.

The league tournament championship was the first for the Knights, who earned C-USA's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals, since UCF won the Atlantic Sun title in 2004.

UCF concluded the 11-team event at 846 (-18), six shots ahead of second-place SMU. The Mustangs posted an 852 (-12). The Knights led the tournament from start to finish.

Ward carded a 4-under 68 Tuesday to finish at 205 (-11). Barber ended the three-day tournament at 206 (-10) after posting a 3-under 69 on the final 18. UAB's Zack Sucher, the defending champion, placed third (209, -7).

"We have had a good year. We have not finished out of the top four the whole spring and the guys have worked very hard," UCF head coach Nick Clinard said. "Obviously, their goal was to come to the conference championship and win. Winning wire-to-wire is special and they really raised their game to get it done. Now, we have to move on, finish up school and get ready for NCAA Regionals."

The tournament title was the first of Ward's collegiate career. He is in his first campaign at UCF. Ward entered the final round tied for first with Barber and Sucher.

"I am delighted with the win knowing that I played well," Ward said. "Every day, I played well from the very start when I shot a 69 in the first round and then shot two 68's to finish it off. I played well, just solid the whole way around. I love the golf course and it is in great condition. There was a little bad weather yesterday. It was just a good tournament for me."

Clinard's team has now won three events in 2008-09. The three championships are the most for UCF since 1990-91.

Four of UCF's five golfers placed in the top-25 in the individual standings. Senior David Johnson (Palm Bay, Fla.) recorded a 2-under 70 on the final 18. Johnson tied for 11th at 215 (-1). Redshirt freshman Brad Schneider (Valrico, Fla.) tied for 24th (220, +4).

UCF served as the C-USA Championship host along with the Central Florida Sports Commission. The pair will also host NCAA Regional play at RedTail, starting May 14.

For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.

Team Leaders
1. UCF 279-286-281=846 (-18)
2. SMU 284-285-283=852 (-12)
3. UAB 286-287-288=861 (-3)
4. Memphis 289-291-286=866 (+2)
5. Tulsa 291-298-284=873 (+9)

UCF Individuals
1. Simon Ward 69-68-68=205 (-11)
2. Blayne Barber 68-69-69=206 (-10)
T11. David Johnson 71-74-70=215 (-1)
T24. Brad Schneider 71-75-74=220 (+4)
40. Jed Dirksen 74-78-76=228 (+12)