Sarah Shipley Wins Individual Bracket at Match Play Challenge
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Kentucky women’s golf team lost to top-seeded Ohio State in the final match of the East & West Match Play Challenge on Tuesday, but freshman Sarah Shipley captured the second individual championship in as many tournaments for the Wildcats when she defeated Michigan’s Alisa Snyder 4 and 3 to win the individual bracket.
Shipley, playing in just her second career college tournament, was dominant in both days of match play after finishing in seventh place in Sunday’s 36-hole stroke play. Shipley left nothing to doubt in her matchup with Snyder, winning four holes over a six-hole stretch midway through the round to take control.
The title for the Hastings, Michigan, native follows junior Isabelle Johansson’s individual co-championship at last week’s Minnesota Invitational.
“Sarah played steady all week and we are proud of her for winning the title among the individuals,” head coach Golda Johansson Borst said. “This will be a good confidence booster for our young freshmen.”
The rest of the Wildcats (Shipley was playing as an individual only) fell to Ohio State 4-1 despite a valiant comeback effort at Radrick Farms Golf Course (par 72, 6,292 yards) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Kentucky finished in fourth place overall after losses in both of its matches, but UK finished second in Sunday’s stroke-play portion of the event, behind only the Buckeyes.
“We had another strong match against Ohio State today,” Borst said. “At one point we were down in all five matches, but our girls showed a lot of grit and fought hard to take them to extra holes in the end.
“The experiences that we had over the last two days are invaluable to us as we head further into the season. To have our team finish runner up in stroke play, then stay neck and neck with two really strong teams is an improvement for us. This shows us that we are moving in the right direction as a team. We need to learn to make the winning putts and to stay cool when we get nervous or amped up. We just need to keep working to get better every day.”
The Wildcats’ lone victory in the team match was a thrilling one.
Redshirt sophomore Anna Hack went back and forth all day with Ohio State’s Niki Schroeder. At one point the U.S. Women’s Open qualifier went 3 up through eight holes, but Schroeder fought back and made it all square on the 13th hole, where the score would stay locked into extra holes.
On the 19th hole, Hack came through with a birdie to close out Schroeder.
Redshirt junior Ale Walker, who tied for fourth in Sunday’s stroke-play competition, had one of the comeback attempts for the Wildcats. Down by three after nine holes, Walker won three holes to start the back nine and even the match. However, Alex Wright closed out the match with a 10-foot putt on No. 18.
Senior Jordan Chael was down two holes with five to play but made big putt after big putt to take the match to extra holes. OSU’s Jessica Porvasnki, regarded as one of the best players in the country, rolled in a birdie to beat her.
The Buckeyes’ Rio Wantanabe defeated Johansson 4 and 2, and Jaclyn Lee defeated freshman Josephine Chang 6 and 5 for Ohio State’s other two points.
Kentucky was one of four teams to make it into the championship bracket for the match-play portion of the East & West Match Play Challenge. UK finished in fourth place for the tournament after opening the season with a sixth-place finish at the Minnesota Invitational. Coupled with the individual titles from Johansson and Shipley, the Wildcats are off to comparably strong start after an injury-riddled 2015-16 season.
Included in this week's excellent play was a 2-under-par 286 on Sunday, which tied for the sixth-best 18-hole score in school history, with records dating back to 1987. Four Wildcats (Walker, Chang, Shipley and Chael) finished in the top 10, while Walker tied her career low with a 2-under 70 in the second round.
UK also gained valuable experience this weekend at a tournament that mirrors the new NCAA championships format. Like this weekend, the NCAA Championships start with stroke play and finishes with match play.
After two tournaments in span of just over a week to start the season, the Wildcats will take a two-week break before the Ron Moore Women’s Intercollegiate in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, on Oct. 7-9. UK will close the fall season at the Cardinal Cup at the end of October.
For the latest on the Kentucky women’s golf team, follow the team on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com.
Team – Ohio State defeated Kentucky, 4-1
1. Rio Wantanabe (Ohio State) defeated Isabelle Johansson (UK), 4 and 2
2. Jessica Porvasnik (Ohio State) defeated Jordan Chael (UK), 19 holes
3. Anna Hack (UK) defeated Niki (Schroeder), 19 holes
4. Alex Wright (Ohio State) defeated Ale Walker (UK), 1 up
5. Jaclyn Lee (Ohio State) defeated Josephine Chang (UK), 6 and 5
1. Sarah Shipley (UK) defeated 3. Alisa Snyder (Michigan), 4 and 3