Men's preview: Conference USA

Men's preview: Conference USA

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Men's preview: Conference USA

In December 2010, Central Florida coach Bryce Wallor received a tip from senior Nuno Henriques, who had heard a few students at NCAA Division II Lynn University were interested in playing for the Knights.

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“They sort of fell into my lap,” Wallor said.

And now, behind the remarkable play of newcomers Ricardo Gouveia and Jose Joia, the Knights this fall cracked the top 20 nationally and have established themselves as the class of Conference USA.

Dedicated college golf followers will know the names. At Lynn, Gouveia won the Phil Mickelson Award as the most outstanding freshman in Division II, and Joia earned first-team All-American honors in his lone season at the Boca Raton, Fla., school.

“They want to be good,” Wallor said of Gouveia (41) and Joia (78), both of whom are inside the top 80 in Golfweek’s rankings. “They want to set team records and play the best golf they can.”

UCF won twice in the fall but may be even better in the spring, when sophomore Greg Eason is expected to return after sitting out two events (wrist injury). Brad Schneider (No. 59) won medalist honors at the season-opener. Gouveia followed that up with a win in the Knights’ next event, the Adams Cup. And then Joia, playing in one of the toughest events of the fall, tied for 10th at Isleworth.

Asked his projection for the spring season, Wallor said: “I think the sky might be the limit for this team. They’re capable of doing anything they want to do.”

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Top of the class: Central Florida

Best player this fall: Ricardo Gouveia, UCF

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Past champions

2007: Tulsa

2008: UAB

2009: Central Florida

2010: Central Florida

2011: Central Florida

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Conference capsules

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Complete coverage

Wondering how your favorite conference is shaping up headed into the spring season? Who is our favorite to pick up the automatic qualifier? Check out our conference-by-conference break down with our complete coverage page here.

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