College Men

Gouveia to make the most out of NCAA appearance

Central Florida's Ricardo Gouveia will play in his third consecutive NCAA Championship, but this time as an individual.
Central Florida's Ricardo Gouveia will play in his third consecutive NCAA Championship, but this time as an individual. ( Tracy Wilcox )

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ricardo Gouveia had signed his scorecard and was sitting on the ninth green at Briggs Ranch Golf Course watching teammate Greg Eason finish up his last collegiate hole. Gouveia, a senior from Central Florida, thought he had just done the same.

“At that point, coach came up to me and said that it looked like it was going to be a playoff between Greg and I for an individual spot at the NCAA Championship because TCU was in at that point,” Gouveia said.

As play finished on the ninth and 18th green, UCF went inside for lunch knowing its chances of finishing inside the top five as a team had disappeared.

Gouveia, who was on Skype with his parents back home in Portugal while eating lunch, was trying to figure out when he should book his flight home. It was then when NCAA officials came up to head coach Bryce Wallor and Gouveia and asked if he wanted to play as an individual at the NCAA Championship at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan. (Eason bogeyed his last hole to finish one shot back of Gouveia so no playoff was needed).

TCU junior Julien Brun, who won the San Antonio Regional, would have advanced as the individual as his team went 4 over on the final hole compared to UCLA’s even par, to be knocked out of the five spot.

Brun, however earned a sponsor exemption into the PGA Tour’s Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial this week – because of his November victory as the men’s individual champion at the Spirit Invitational.

• For more on Brun, click here.

“I knew I had options,” Brun said. “If the team was going (to NCAAs), I would have played with the team, but if I were to go as an individual, coach and I talked and decided to bypass that chance.”

Gouveia, who will be playing in his third NCAA Championship, is excited to represent UCF one last time and make the most out of this situation, but wished it were under better circumstances.

“I really wanted to go with the team, but I am extremely happy to make it,” Gouveia said. “It was kind of mixed emotions. It was sad from a team standpoint, so I didn’t want to show too much emotion. But I’m really excited."

Gouveia finished with eight top-10 finishes in 11 events for the Knights this season boasting a 71.00 stroke average. He is looking to have his best finish at NCAAs after he finished T-103 in 2013 and T-37 in 2012.

Brun added that he and Gouveia are “good friends” and he was “thrilled” that it was Gouveia who earned his qualifying spot.

It was a win-win situation for both players.