High Hopes for New Knights

Sept. 8, 2010

In his first season at UCF, men's golf head coach Bryce Wallor's team won the Conference USA Championship and had a strong performance at the NCAA Regionals. Entering his second season, Wallor has three Knights that placed in a tie for second at the C-USA Championship returning this year, as well as the addition of four freshmen to the squad.

Wallor recently took the time to answer a few questions about the freshmen additions and the upcoming season.

Briefly discuss the freshmen; their success this summer as well as what you expect to see from them this season.

"Kyle Wilshire (Georgetown, Ky.) has had a solid few practices and worked on some nice things in his golf game. He had a great summer. Coming in he won the Kentucky State Junior and played in the United States Junior. He is an accomplished player, a very good student and someone we are very comfortable with. As of today he is in position to qualify for the first event.

Han Kim (Chicago, Ill.) came in this semester just trying to get himself adjusted and comfortable. He is working on some stuff in his golf game, and has gone through a little bit of a coaching change. He has been diligent and working hard and off to a pretty good start.

Hojin Kang (Lake Mary, Fla.) is a guy who has got a ton of club head speed and is a very powerful ball striker. He is a local kid here in town, and everywhere I go people seem to know him. He is a great student and is very focused. At this point in time it looks like he will qualify as well.

Greg Eason (Leicestershire, England) is one of the more powerful golfers I have seen in college golf. Devin Spies last year was kind of a local legend for his length, and so far this year we have noticed Greg might be a little bit longer. He has been very impressive on the golf course. He works the ball well and has a good short game."

What is the biggest adjustment these freshmen will have to make?

"The way we run our program it's a role reversal. They play tournament golf every morning. We play and practice in the morning and they go to school in the afternoon.

Another challenge they will face is finding new golf courses. We are utilizing four courses, so they need to figure out how long it takes to get there. How long does it take to get back? How long does it take to get lunch, to get to class? Make all my appointments? Being a little bit more organized because we throw a little bit more at them from a responsibility stand point. I think it's an adjustment phase.

I was talking to Brad Schneider (Valrico, Fla.) about it, asking him when you were a freshman how many weeks do you think you were caught up and how long did it take before you caught on?

We have four new guys so I am trying to keep an eye on them, but also giving them room to grow."

Does your qualifying system prepare them for actual tournaments?

"I think so. These guys are all used to being the best player of their area, so you always the big fish in little water. Now we have brought all the big fish into one area. Every day you have to go out and play fairly well, or you can get beat. I do think it will prepare them to play in competition. I think we have a good team, and I think we have a young team. But we have some maturity in Connor Arendell (Cape Coral, Fla.), Nuno Henriques (Funchal, Portugal) and Brad Schneider (Valrico, Fla.). I think it will be tough to get on the road this year."

Connor had a great summer, do you foresee that giving him more confidence once tournaments begin?

"I would think so. Coach Ragland and I handed out a tournament exemption for the player we felt had the best summer on our team. He had a great US Amateur Qualifying match play, was fifth at the state amateur, third at the Dogwood in Atlanta and runner up in the conference championship at the end of the year for us. He also made the local qualifying in the US Open. If having all the success doesn't make him feel better about his game, I don't know what will."

Do you feel confident with veterans Nuno, Connor, Brad and Reid to mentor those younger guys?

"It makes me sleep a little better at night. Knowing we had four guys coming in, but we had four guys that embraced the system. I felt very thankful to have the leadership from those older guys. They all get along very well and they are all doing a great job guiding them."

Going from freshman year to sophomore year, how do you feel Reid will impact the team this year?

"Reid Martin (Mukilteo, Wash.), last year, was kind of up and down a little bit. He came in and it took him a little while to get adjusted, but boy when he did he had a great tournament at North Florida and a great tournament at home for us at the Rio Pinar. Some flashes of brilliance. Same thing this summer, he had some good golf tournaments and we are looking forward to his contribution just like he did last year."

Last year you said the goals for the season were to "get better every day." Coming off a C-USA Championship win last year, what are your goals this year?

"It will always be that way. We as a team will sit down shortly to establish some long term goals for ourselves and process goals for how do we go about getting better every day and what we are going to do to make ourselves get better all the time. We are in the process of getting everyone comfortable, letting everyone figure out where they fit in and what their thoughts are. Letting everyone figure out what those long term goals are and finding a process that works. Getting better every day is the goal. I think our team is really committed to improving."

How helpful is what is inside that practice facility when these newcomers come in to analyze what they are doing?

"It's fantastic! The video system has the hitting base technology to be able to capture what their golf swings look like at their best performance times. We just implemented a new SAM puttware training system for putting. We are going to monitor different things, path motion of the putting stroke and really give us some good feedback that the eye truly can't see on how the team putts. Keith Tribble has done an amazing job for our program allowing the team to grow and allowing the technology to grow. The facility is coming around and looking really nice. I think everything out there just helps us get better."