Brizendine And Leandersson Earn Academic Honor
April 17, 2008
IRVING, Texas - East Carolina teammates Tripp Brizendine and Markus Leandersson were among the six student-athletes to make up the 2008 Conference USA All-Academic Men's Golf Team, as selected by the sports information directors for golf. East Carolina placed two members on the team, while Memphis, Rice, UAB and UTEP each had one representative on the squad. The all-academic team for men's golf consists of student-athletes that have earned a 3.2 cumulative grade point average or better and played in 75 percent or more of their team's rounds this season. The team usually consists of five golfers, but there was a tie in this year's voting.
Brizendine and Leandersson both registered three Top 10 finishes for the Pirates this season. The pair are also two-time selections to the Conference USA Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll and C-USA Academic Medal winners. Brizendine carries a 3.77 GPA as an economics major, with a 4.0 during the fall semester. The sophomore from Morrisville, N.C., was a member of the 2007 C-USA All-Freshman Team, as well as the NCAA Division I National Golf Coaches All-American Scholar Team. Leandersson maintains a perfect 4.0 GPA as a junior finance major. The Hvalstad, Norway native's best performance of the season was a second-place finish at the prestigious Pinehurst Intercollegiate in March.
Memphis junior Brad Benjamin is a repeat selection to the All-Academic Team, after being the only underclassmen selected for last year's inaugural team. With a 3.82 GPA in business finance, Benjamin has spent five semesters on the Dean's List, the Tiger 3.0 Club and the Tiger Academic 30. He is a three-time C-USA Academic Medal winner. As a freshman, he earned a spot on the 2006 C-USA All-Tournament Team after placing third overall and finished in the Top 20 last season. This year, the native of Rockford, Ill., is one of only two Tigers to play in every round this spring, with two Top-15 finishes.
Rice sophomore Michael Buttacavoli was a unanimous selection to the 2008 All-Academic Team. Hailing from Miami Beach, Fla., Buttacavoli ranks second among the Owls with a 74.08 stroke average. He placed second at the Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational and also posted a pair of Top 20 finishes this spring. Buttacavoli maintains a 3.87 GPA as a mathematical economic analysis major.
UAB's Brad Smith is a two-time C-USA Golfer of the Week selection as the only Blazer to compete in every tournament this season. The Adelaide, Australia native was named the 2007 Conference USA Newcomer of the Year and tied for 12th place at the C-USA Championship to help his team to a second-place finish. A two-time member of the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll with a 3.25 GPA as a communication studies management major, Smith has ranked as high as No. 71 nationally by Golfweek.
UTEP senior Zac Hildenbrand becomes the second Miner to earn an all-academic honor with a 3.77 GPA. A native of Summerland, British Columbia, Hildenbrand has already completed his degree in biology and is currently working on a PhD in chemistry. He overcame a nerve damage injury to his left arm and ranks third on the team in stroke average (74.3) this season, which includes two Top 20 finishes.
These six and many other outstanding student-athletes are gearing up for the 2008 Conference USA Men's Golf Championship, which will be held April 20-22. This year's 54-hole event is being hosted at the par 72, 6,935-yard Texarkana Country Club in Texarkana, Ark.