The UCF men's golf team swung back into action on Sept. 5 at the Northern Intercollegiate tournament. The Knights, who finished the event in first last year, wrapped up the weekend with a total score of 55-over par which was good for 10th place out of 13 schools.
The Knights didn't start the season as they would have liked and entered without senior Linus Vaisanen, who was competing in Japan on Finland's team, as well as sophomore Fedrico Zucchetti.
It was a young team on the course during the opener.
"Essentially, our first event was five players that either hadn't competed in a year for us, or at all for us," head coach Bryce Wallor said.
But he has high hopes for his predominantly young squad.
"We've got some young talent, but the key word is young, and it takes time to get them up to speed at what's expected of them at the college level," Wallor said.
Senior Jose Joia led UCF through the three-round, 54-hole tournament, finishing 9-over par. Joia tied for 21st out of 74 players. He began the first 18 with a 1-over 73 and rounded out the last two 18s with a 4-over 76 through each. The Portugal native missed all of last season with an injury.
"It's getting better. I've worked with our physical coach and he's doing a really good job, and I feel much better now," Joia said.
Freshmen Thad Obecny, Manuel Elvira and Juuso Kahlos each participated in their first collegiate golf tournament.
"Obviously, I was a little nervous just because I wanted to play good for my team," Obecny said.
Obecny tied for 30th and completed the first two rounds with a combined score of 5-over. He wasn't quite up to par on Sunday, though, as he shot a 7-over and finished the tournament at 12-over.
He finished strong as one of two Knights, securing an eagle on the par-5 17th during the final round.
"I went for the green and it paid off," Obecny said. "It gives you a little more confidence [going into the next tournament]."
Elvira shot the next best with a 15-over par as he finished the weekend tied for 38th.
Kahlos and sophomore Ryan Stovash rounded out the Knights roster tied at 60th overall as each finished 22-over par.
Stovash, who graduated from Lake Nona High School, competed in eight events for the Knights last year. His best finish came at the Isleworth Invitational in Windermere, shooting 3-under and tying for fifth place. He also qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship during the summer.
"It was a great experience and I learned a lot from it," Stovash said. "[It was nice to] know that I can play against the top guys."
The Knights are back in action Sept. 22 when they travel to South Kent, Connecticut, participating in the Hartford Hawks Invitational.