Kentucky Women’s Golf Adds Leonie Bettel to 2017-18 Roster

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky women’s golf team has added an immediate impact player in Leonie Bettel for the 2017-18 year. Bettel, a transfer from NC State who posted two top-10 tournament finishes last season and boasts a wealth of international experience, will be eligible immediately and compete for the Wildcats in the fall as a junior.

“We are incredibly excited to add Leonie to our team this fall,” UK head coach Golda Johansson Borst said. “Her personal drive and competitiveness will help us get stronger as a team, and I can’t wait to have everyone back on campus in a month’s time. Leo has already played at a high level both internationally and collegiately, and I have no doubt that she will have an immediate impact on this team. We can’t wait to work with her on her game and for her to get to campus.”

Bettel will join Kentucky with the ability to make an instant splash on a team that qualified for NCAA regionals in the spring. Bettel was one of the top golfers on an NC State team that also made the NCAA regional field in 2016-17.

“Coach Borst made a really good impression on me and was definitely one of the reasons why I chose Kentucky,” Bettel said. “With the facilities and resources here at Kentucky, it made it easy for me to decide that I want to be a part of Kentucky.” 

With a 74.5 scoring average, Bettel played in all 10 events for the Wolfpack last season with a pair of top-10 finishes at Bryan National Collegiate (tied for sixth) and the Tar Heel Invitational (tied for ninth). In two seasons with NC State, Bettel competed in 17 events with a 75.0 career scoring average.

At the Bryan National Collegiate in the spring, Bettel fired off consecutive rounds of 72, 70 and 69 for career-best 54-hole score of 211 (5-under par). She posted a 2-under 214 (71-71-72) at the Tar Heel Invitational in the spring. All told, she had 10 rounds of even par or better in 2016-17 – which would have been the second-best number on Kentucky last season – and 24 of her 28 rounds counted towards the NC State team total. 

As a freshman, Bettel competed in seven tournaments with a 75.8 stroke average, highlighted by three rounds of par or better. She fired a career-best 68 (4-under par) on the final day of the Landfall Tradition. 

Bettel has extensive experience on the international stage as a member of the Austrian national golf team since 2012. She’s competed in golf events in Austria, Japan, France, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Serbia, Russia, Estonia, Sweden, Spain, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The junior-to-be is representing Austria at the European Ladies Team Championship this weekend in Portugal. She tied for 14th at qualifying this summer with a score of 4-under par (140). Prior to this weekend, Bettel most recently competed for Austria at the 2016 World Amateur Championship in Mexico, where the team placed 21st, but she’s also led Austria to third place at the European Girls Team Championship and a 14th-place finish at the 2015 Ladies European Championship. Bettel has played in the European Girls Team Championship four times, the Individual European Ladies Championship three times, the World Amateur Team Championship twice, the European Ladies Team Championship twice and the European Nations Cup once. She is expected to play in the Individual European Ladies Championship in Switzerland later this year. 

Prior to college, Bettel was named the U21 Austrian Player of the Year in 2014. She was crowned the U18 champion at both the 2014 and 2015 Austrian Stroke Play tournaments, won the 2014 Austrian Match Play tournament in the U18 division, and captured the women’s Serbian Stroke Play championship in 2014.

A Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar in 2016, Bettel plans to major in civil engineering at Kentucky.

Bettel will join a UK women’s golf team that qualified for the NCAA Columbus Regional after posting four top-five finishes in 10 stroke-play tournaments, plus a win at the Battle of the Bluegrass in a dual match vs. Louisville. The Wildcats’ team scoring average of 298.13 in 2016-17, aided by a school-record 277 (11-under par) in the final round of the Ron Moore Women’s Intercollegiate, was the second best in school history. 

UK will lose just two seniors from that team while adding Bettel and highly touted freshmen Claire Cameron and Sarah Fite. 

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