UNCW men's golf team sweeps CAA awards

WILMINGTON, North Carolina – On the eve of the NCAA Men's Golf regionals, the UNCW men's golf program recorded a sweep of the Colonial Athletic Association awards with senior Josh Brock and freshman Payne McLeod being named Player and Rookie-of-the-Year, respectively, while head coach Matt Clark was the Coach-of-the-Year.

In addition to Brock and McLeod also being named first-team All-CAA, sophomore Thomas Bass was named second-team All-CAA.

"This is exciting for the program," said Clark. "We've had a great season and looking forward to competing in the regional. The awards speak a lot about the program and what the future holds. Josh, Payne and Thomas all had great seasons and it's rewarding to see them be honored."

Brock enters the NCAA Virginia Tech regional as the CAA conference medalist after shooting one-under in the conference championship. The Wilmington, N.C., native posted six top-six finishes and won two tournaments in addition to the CAA championship. Brock led the Seahawks with a 72.03 stroke average this season and is making his third appearance at the NCAA Regionals.

"To be named Player-of-the-Year is an honor for me," said Brock. "I'm looking forward to playing this week and helping my team move onto the regionals."

McLeod, meanwhile, made an immediate impact as a rookie, standing second on the team with a 73.09 stroke average this year. That average is the second-lowest freshman mark in the program's history. McLeod placed ninth at the conference championship and posted a total of nine top-25 finishes. For UNCW, it was the second straight season that a Seahawk was honored as Rookie-of-the-Year with Stefan Brewer earning the award in 2009-10.

"I'm excited about earning the Rookie award and looking forward to the next three years of playing at UNCW. But right now, I'm concentrating on playing well this week and advancing to the next round," said McLeod.

For Clark this is his second CAA Coaching award, but the first with the Seahawks. Clark led UNCW to its first CAA title since 2005, third overall, and the program's second straight NCAA tournament appearance and fifth total. The Seahawks finished in the top-12 of all 11 tournaments this year and tied a school-record with four tournament titles.

"I'm honored and humbled to be named Coach-of-the-Year by my fellow coaches," said Clark. "I'm fortunate to have a good team that played well all season. Without them, this isn't possible."

The Seahawks tee off at 9:10 a.m. on Thursday and will be grouped with Coastal Carolina and Lamar in the opening round.