The UCF Knights Men’s Golf team hung on last season to make its way back to the postseason as a team for the first time since the pandemic began. While the team is down one player that made that postseason run possible, the Knights return a roster high in experience as it prepares for one last chance to capture an AAC title before departing to the Big 12.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Knights as they start the spring portion of their 2022-23 season:
How College Golf Works
Each school has five golfers playing for the overall team score. While a school can enter more than five players in a tournament, if they do so the extra players have to be entered as individuals and will not count toward the team’s score.
A team’s total score comes from combining the scores of each of the golfers and subtracting the highest score.
The team with the lowest score after three rounds is the winner.
4th in AAC Tournament; Selected to New Haven Regional
Thanks to a breakout season from Teddy Tetak that joined Johnny Travale to finish with a season scoring average below 72, the No. 68-ranked Knights were able to squeak into an NCAA Regional for the first time since 2018 after taking 4th place in the AAC Championship.
UCF’s postseason journey ended in New Haven, Connecticut, where the team finished 9th in the NCAA Regional there with an 854 (+14).
Coming into the spring season, a well-experienced Knights squad is ranked No. 86 in the nation by Golfstat.
So far, the team has two top-five finishes, a victory at the Hartford Hawks Invitational and a 5th-place finish at the Carolina Collegiate Invitational.
If the Knights are going to win its first AAC title in its final season in the conference before moving on to the Big 12, they will have to beat teams like No. 35-ranked Cincinnati (who have the country’s No. 54 and 60-ranked players), No. 49-ranked SMU, No. 64-ranked Houston, and No. 74-ranked Memphis.
Who’s in Charge
Bryce Wallor - 14th season at UCF
Since Bryce Wallor was hired back in 2009, he has taken the Knights to at least an NCAA Regional seven times as a team. Add two more seasons in which Knights earned individual bids to an NCAA Regional and that’s 9 out of 13 seasons (one of which was cut short due to the pandemic) that Wallor has coached at least one Knight into the postseason.
However, there is one accomplishment that has eluded Wallor during his tenure. 2023 will be his last chance to capture an American Athletic Conference Championship.
Watch our team preview video with Coach Wallor here:
Players to Watch
After transferring in from Kent State back in 2019, Johnny Travale became one of the most consistently low-scoring Knights in program history. All 3 of his complete-season scoring averages rank in the Top 10 in program history, with last season being his lowest yet (7th, 8th, and 10th). Plus, over the summer, the native Canadian made his PGA Tour debut in the RBC Canadian Open.
He’s been UCF’s single-season scoring average leader for the past two seasons and with a pair of Top 5 finishes to his name already in 2022-23, he looks poised to do so again in his final collegiate season.
Luis Carrera made his debut with the Knights last season after transferring in from Sam Houston State. He was one of three Knights last season (alongside Travale and Clement Charmasson) that competed in all 11 tournaments in the 2021-22 season.
This time around, the fifth-year senior got off to a hot start with his first win in a UCF uniform at the Hartford Hawks Invitational in September. With the win he became the 10th Knight to pick up an individual victory for the program, joining his teammate, Travale.
He also enters the spring with momentum in the form of a runner-up finish at the 2023 Latin American Amateur Championship.
Who We’ll Miss
Teddy Tetak went out with a bang in his final season last year.
After hitting for a 74.17 scoring average in both his sophomore and junior seasons after transferring in from South Carolina, the Slovakia native broke out with a 71.88 scoring average in 2021-22. It became the second-lowest on the team that season after Travale and the 11th-lowest single-season scoring average in program history.
Tetak was also the team’s highest finisher in the 2022 American Athletic Conference Championship.
Who’s New That’s Good
Juan Camilo Vesga
Competing alongside Carrera at the Latin American Amateur Championship this summer was Columbia native Juan Camilo Vesga.
The redshirt sophomore transferred in from Arkansas over the summer and has captured two Top 25 finishes so far this fall.
UCF bookended their fall tournaments with appearances from Chase Haygood, a true freshman out of Daytona Beach. He made his debut at the Hartford Hawks Invitational, where he shot one over par to finish in the Top 25. At the Isleworth Collegiate, he rebounded from two 77 rounds to finish with a 73 (+1) in Round 3.
Haygood prepared for his UCF debut with appearances in several summer events, an act that Wallor said could portend good things to come.
“He put himself out there to compete, to grow, to get better, and usually those are the guys that are going to have a good spring,” Wallor said.
- 2 Freshman
- 3 Sophomores
- 1 Junior
- 4 5th-Years
- 3 Floridians
- 7 International Players (Norway, Russia, Columbia, Mexico, France, England, Canada)
2022-23 UCF Men’s Golf Roster
|Fall 2022 Stats
|Fall 2022 Stats
|4 tournaments; 74.58 avg.; 1 Top 10 finish
|Juan Camilo Vesga
|3 tournaments; 74.67 avg.; 2 Top 25 finishes
|Mexico City, Mexico
|4 tournaments; 72.25 avg.; 2 Top 15 finishes; Won Hartford Hawks Invitational
|2 tournaments; 78.17 avg.
|Rostov on Don, Russia
|4 tournaments; 73.50 avg.; 2 Top 15 finishes
|Lake Worth, Fla.
|Daytona Beach, Fla.
|Spruce Creek HS
|2 tournaments; 74.00 avg.; 1 Top 25 finish
|Richard Lander School
|Winter Garden, FL
|1 tournament; 75.67 avg.
|Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
|4 tournaments; 71.80 avg.; 2 Top 5 finishes
UCF Men’s Golf 2023 Spring Schedule
|2021-22 Team Result
|2021-22 Team Result
|John Hayt Collegiate
|Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
|Southern Highlands Collegiate
|Las Vegas, NV
|Sea Palms Invitational
|St. Simons Island, GA
|Augusta Haskins Award Invitational
|American Athletic Conference Championship
|AAC and South Florida
- Selection Day: May 3rd
- Regional Dates: May 15th-17th
- Championship Dates: May 26th-31st
- Championship Location: Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona
The Last Time...
UCF won a conference championship: 2011. Bryce Wallor began his tenure with the Knights with two consecutive Conference USA titles in 2010 and 2011. Despite the advancements in the NCAA tournament, he has not captured a conference title since.
UCF made it to NCAA Championship: 2018. Last season was the first time the Knights made it to an NCAA Regional since 2018 as well.
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