Hard Work, Win at Rio Pinar Led to UCF's C-USA Title

April 29, 2010

By Doug Richards

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF's path to the Conference USA Men's Golf Championship title was a not an easy one. With a new coaching staff and a roster filled with new contributors, nothing came guaranteed for the Knights.

Instead, UCF used hard work and perseverance to record its second-straight league title earlier this week. UCF finished the 11-team C-USA tournament at 6-under 858, 18 shots ahead of Rice and Southern Miss, who tied for second place. Three Knights - junior Nuno Henriques (Funchal, Portugal) and sophomores Connor Arendell (Cape Coral, Fla.) and Brad Schneider (Valrico, Fla.) - tied for second individually as four of the five UCF golfers posted top-10 finishes. UCF led for the entire duration of the event.

With several new faces and the arrival of head coach Bryce Wallor, the Knights did not have the best fall campaign. The season started coming together in March when the team claimed the championship at its home tournament, the Rio Pinar Invitational. Like the C-USA Championship, UCF used a team effort to take the Rio Pinar title. Four Knights recorded top-10 showings as the squad concluded the 18-team event at 14-under 850, 19 strokes ahead of second-place Charlotte. Senior Simon Ward (County Monaghan, Ireland) feels that the victory at the home event helped UCF turn around its season.

"We were not having the greatest season up until then," Ward said. "All of a sudden we got that win and we got a lot of confidence."

Schneider, who also finished second at Rio Pinar, agrees with Ward's assessment. "Coming into our tournament, we knew we could go in and win our tournament. That is exactly what we did. It kind of gave us a boost to go into the next few tournaments."

NCAA Regional play is set to begin on May 20. Regional bids will be announced on May 10. Possible destinations for the Knights are Alpharetta, Ga., Bryan, Texas, New Haven, Conn., Notre Dame, Ind., Santee, Calif., and Bremerton, Wash.

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.