Men’s Golf Announces Strong 2016-17 Schedule


LEXINGTON, Ky. – After compiling five top-10 finishes and placing 13th at the NCAA Championships last season, the Kentucky men’s golf team will take on a grueling schedule in 2016-17 in its quest to once again compete for a national title.   

“I love this schedule for our guys,” head coach Brian Craig said. “We play quite a few absolutely brilliant golf courses, which is invaluable experience. In our sport, the golf course is your primary competitor.  Playing these types of venues will help prepare us for the postseason. I also love the strength of this schedule, especially in the spring semester. This team has a chance to be very, very good and we will have plenty of opportunities to be tested before we start our end of the season run with the SEC Championship.” 

The fall portion of this season’s schedule will feature three tournaments relatively close to home. 

Wolf Run Golf Club, voted the 15th Best Modern Course by Golfweek in 2007, plays host to the Wolf Run Intercollegiate Sept. 10-11 for the Wildcats’ first test of the year. Located in Zionsville, Indiana, this Steven R. Smyers course plays 6,805 yards with a par of 71 and a slope rating of 143 on bent grass. Having finished in the top-five five times with one win in 2006, this marks the eighth time that Kentucky will play in this event and the first time since 2014 when it finished ninth. 

Sticking even closer to home, the Wildcats follow the Wolf Run Intercollegiate with a trip to Coldstream Country Club in Cincinnati, Ohio for their first-ever appearance at the Cincinnati Intercollegiate Sept. 26-27, before returning to the Bluegrass to take on the field at the Kenny Perry Invitational. 

The former PGA Tour pro’s tournament will be held at The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Oct. 10-11. It is one of the state’s finest courses, with 72 serving as par on the long 7,372-yard course.

To close out the fall season, Steelwood Country Club in Loxley, Alabama, awaits some of the nation’s best for the David Miller Collegiate Invitational. Designed by former U.S. Open Champion Jerry Pate, Steelwood has been rated as one of the best courses in Alabama by GolfDigest. This scenic course is centered on Steelwood Lake, holds Bermuda grass, and provides many perplexing shots throughout its 7,096 yards. The tournament is slated for Oct. 29-30. 

For the second year in a row, the Wildcats will take on legend Greg Norman’s River Course at Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort Feb. 19-21 in Puerto Rico to open the team portion of the spring slate. UK finished fourth last season with Cooper Musselman and Tyler “Chip” McDaniel leading the way. Stephen Stallings finished 27th to give Kentucky three individuals in the top 30. The course in Rio Grande is heralded as Norman’s first Caribbean design with wider fairways and shallow bunkers. 

The Wildcats will take a short break before getting back into action March 11-12 at the Dunes Club, a Robert Trent Jones signature course in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for the General Hackler Collegiate. The course plays over 7,300 yards and underwent a three-month renovation in 2013 in order to co-host the 2014 PGA Professional National Championship. The Club has also hosted many PGA Tour, Senior PGA Tour, Amateur, National, and State competitions, while being ranked in the “Top 100 Golf Courses” in countless magazines. Kentucky last visited in 2009 when it finished in seventh place.

Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro, Ga., will host the Schenkel Invitational the following weekend. As one of the most familiar tournaments for the Wildcats, the team looks to replicate previous success, as it has had seven top-10 finishes over its 11 appearances since 2006. Craig’s squad placed three individuals in the top 25 and tied for third at the tournament as a team last season, which almost bested the highest finish at the event of sole third place in its first appearance in 2006.

For the 13th year in a row, the team will travel to the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate. Bulls Bay Golf Club in Awendaw, South Carolina, will host the event March 26-28. This 7,220-yard course, just minutes from Charleston, is stimulating and offers two par fives that are more than 600 yards long. 

The Gary Koch Invitational, held at Gaston Country Club in Gastonia, North Carolina, will round out the regular-season schedule. Making their 11th appearance since 2001, the Wildcats have finished in the top five of this event six times with one win and two second place finishes. The course plays at just over 7,000 yards and is ranked 48th in North Carolina’s Top 100 Golf Courses after undergoing a restoration in 2003. Known for its strategic shot placement on most holes, Gaston Country Club was also selected to host U.S Open qualifiers and the North Carolina Women’s Amateur. 

Postseason play will begin with the SEC Championship, which Kentucky finished seventh overall a season ago. UK’s run included owning a 36-hole lead with McDaniel securing a runner-up finish in the event.  

“I am thrilled that our conference championship has gotten even better,” Craig said. “This year we will play 54 holes and then cut to the low eight teams and determine the SEC Champion via match play.  It does not get any better than that.”

This season’s conference championship will be played in St. Simons Island, Georgia, April 21-24 at Seaside Golf Club. This immaculate links-style course is a part of the Sea Island Golf Club, which is rated fourth on the list of 75 Best Golf Resorts in the United States, and mimics the legendary and historic St. Andrews in Scotland. Seaside is also home to the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic. 

Following the SEC Championship will be the NCAA Regional Championship May 15-17. Kentucky finished fourth last season with McDaniel finishing in a tie for fourth as an individual with a total score of 210.

The NCAA Championship will be played at the long, 7,600-yard Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., May 26-31. The Wildcats have their eyes set on getting back to the championships as they did last year for the first time since 2014. 

For the latest on the Kentucky men's golf team, follow @UKMensGolf on Twitter and on the web at UKathletics.com

Tournament

Course

Location

Dates

Wolf Run Intercollegiate

Wolf Run GC

Zionsville, Ind.

Sept. 10-11, 2016

Cincinnati Intercollegiate

Coldstream CC

Cincinnati, Ohio

Sept. 26-27, 2016

Kenny Perry Invitational

The Club at Olde Stone

Bowling Green, Ky.

Oct. 10-11, 2016

David Miller Collegiate Invite

Steelwood CC

Loxley, Ala.

Oct. 29-30, 2016

Puerto Rico Classic

Rio Mar (River Course)

Puerto Rico

Feb. 19-21, 2017

General Hackler Collegiate

Dunes Club

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

March 11-12, 2017

Schenkel Invitational

Forest Heights CC

Statesboro, Ga.

March 17-19, 2017

Hootie at Bulls Bay

Bulls Bay GC

Awendaw, S.C.

March 26-28, 2017

Gary Koch Invitational

Gaston CC

Gastonia, N.C.

April 10-11, 2017

SEC Championship

Seaside GC

St. Simonds Island, Ga.

April 21-24, 2017

NCAA Regional Championship

TBA

TBA

May 15-17, 2017

NCAA Championship

Rich Harvest Farms

Sugar Grove, Ill.

May 26-31, 2017