Damerau Paces UK Women’s Golf on Day One at SEC Championship

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Playing in perhaps her final tournament as a Kentucky women’s golfer, senior Cylia Damerau finds herself in familiar position at the Southeastern Conference Championship, where she’s had success throughout her college career.

Damerau, who has posted top-20 finishes in each of the last two seasons in the league championship, was UK’s top golfer in the opening round Friday. Damerau fired a first-day 77 – as did freshman Anna Hack – and is tied for 39th through the first 18 holes.

UK is in 14th place overall with a score of 312, but there is plenty of time for the Wildcats to move up with 18 more holes Saturday and another 18 Sunday. Teams will tee off from the Legacy Course at the Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Ala., as early as 9 a.m. ET on Saturday.

Alabama, No. 1 in the country in the GolfStat rankings, played the part of top team in the country on Friday in arguably the nation’s best conference tournament. With six teams in the field ranked in the top 25 and four in the top 10, Alabama leads the way at 2-under par overall, ahead of No. 7 Florida (4-over par) and No. 31 Missouri (7-over par).

South Carolina’s Ainhoa Olarra and Florida’s Maria Torres lead nine golfers in red numbers at 3-under par.

Damerau entered this week’s tournament with top-20 finishes in each of her last two appearances in the SEC Championship. In addition to her 12th-place finish last season, she also finished in 18th in 2014. In both years she was UK’s top finisher.

The Swiss native started on the back nine and opened with bogeys on 13 and 14 before a 1-under-par stretch over the next nine holes. Damerau was among the leaders until finishing with two bogeys and a double bogey on three of the final four holes.

Hack, Kentucky’s best freshman this season, is tied with Damerau at 5-over par. She had difficulties on the back nine – which was also her opening nine – with four bogeys and a double bogey, but she rebounded nicely on her final nine with eight pars and a birdie.

Sophomore Isabelle Johansson, UK’s season stroke average leader, shot an opening-round 78 as she looks to add to her team-best six top-50 finishes. She’s in a tie for 47th.

Had it not been for double bogeys that started and ended her round, junior Jordan Chael would have been in the mix with Damerau, Hack and Johansson. With an 80 on Friday, she’s in a tie for 58th.

Sophomore Grace Rose, who is coming off a career-best 15th-place finish two weeks ago at the Bryan National Collegiate, posted an 82. 

Likely needing a strong final two days to make the NCAA regionals for a school-record sixth straight time, there is an opportunity to catch the eye of the NCAA selection committee with so many quality teams in this week’s tournament. Ten of the 14 teams in the field are ranked in the top 50.

This is the second straight season the SEC Championship has been played at the Legacy Course at the Greystone Golf & Country Club. Playing at par 72, 6,195 yards, the Legacy Course is carved naturally from a visually dramatic landscape of placid lakes, meandering streams and the undulation of Alabama's Appalachian foothills.

Designed by world-famous architect Rees Jones, each hole is an inviting yet demanding contest. The Zoysia fairways and Bent Grass greens found at Legacy provide golfers with surfaces that are both challenging and rewarding.

Fans can continue to follow along with live scoring of the SEC Championship at golfstat.com.

As always, fans can follow the team on TwitterFacebook and Instagram, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com, for the latest Kentucky women’s golf information.

SEC Championship
Legacy Course at Bridgestone Golf & Country Club
Birmingham, Ala.
April 15-17
Par: 72
Yardage: 6,195