Freshmen Pace Wildcats on Day One at SECs

April 17, 2015

UK at the SEC Championship on Friday

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - The freshman tandem of Tyler `Chip' McDaniel and Cooper Musselman paced the Kentucky men's golf team on the opening day of the Southeastern Conference Championship at the Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Ga., on Friday. UK's first-year players came in under par as UK sits in a tie for ninth at 4-over par overall.

McDaniel fired a 3-under par, 67, just one stroke off his best collegiate round to pace the Cats. McDaniel currently is tied for fifth overall on the individual leaderboard.

The Manchester, Ky., native tallied four birdies and an eagle during his opening round of action. Starting off on hole No. 10, McDaniel posted a bogey to open the day before rebounding with a birdie on the 14th and the eagle on the 15th. During his back nine, McDaniel carded birdies on three of his final seven holes to finish the day with a flourish.

Musselman sits in a tie for 15th overall following a 1-under, 69, to begin competition. The first-year player is coming off his best collegiate tournament with a third place finish at the Gary Koch Invitational and again provided the Wildcats with a steady round of golf. Musselman charted two birdies compared with just one bogey on the afternoon. He birdied the 17th hole he played and finished the round with a par score on the 18th to come in under par.

Junior David Snyder, UK's season stroke leader, anchored the Wildcats with an even-par, 70. He is tied for 23rd overall after the opening 18 holes. Snyder, UK's only player with SEC Championship experience prior to today's round, fired a 1-over par, 36, on the front nine. Snyder saved his best golf for late in the round as he finished with back-to-back birdies on 17 and 18 to even out his round.

With a 4-over par, 284, the Wildcats are tied for ninth overall with Tennessee. No. 25 Alabama is the day one leader at 11-under par. The Crimson Tide is followed by No. 7 LSU. No. 15 Auburn and sixth-ranked South Carolina are tied for third, while No. 5 Vanderbilt rounds out the top five.

Freshman Cristian DiMarco, playing in just his third collegiate tournament, carded a 78 and sophomore Stephen Stallings fired a 79 on the opening day of play.

Play will resume Saturday with the second round of 18 holes, followed by the final round on Sunday with fixed tee times on holes No. 1 and No. 10 at 7:30 a.m. ET.

The course is set at a par-70, 6,898-yard setup. Live stats will be available on and throughout the event. This marks the 15th year for the SEC Championship to be contested on the Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course. The SEC has conducted its annual championship on St. Simons Island since 2001 (Seaside Course 2001-2007, 2010-2014; Frederica Golf Club 2008-2009). Since 1927, the Sea Island Golf Club has enjoyed a legacy as one of America's premier golf clubs.

Rated No. 1 in the U.S. among the "World's 50 Best Golf Hotels" by Golf Digest Index, Sea Island Golf Club offers three exceptional 18-hole championship courses.

The Seaside Course, home to the PGA TOUR's McGladrey Classic, is a links course graced by majestic ocean vistas in the tradition of St. Andrews. The Seaside Course was totally reconfigured by Tom Fazio and reopened in October 1999. The new Seaside Course is the brilliant blending of Colt & Allison's original nine-hole Seaside and Joe Lee's Marshside nine into one seamless, contemporary 18-hole golf course. Tidal creeks, dunes, saltmarshes and St. Simons Sound frame the course which plays fast, firm and fun in the tradition of legendary Scottish links.

The SEC Men's Golf Championship has been played at Sea Island since 2001, with Georgia winning five of the 14 championships. Alabama has won four times, Florida has won twice, while Auburn, Kentucky and Tennessee have each won one conference tournament title during that time. UK's title came in 2005 led by J.B. Holmes, the league's Golfer of the Year that season.

For more information on the University of Kentucky men's golf team please visit the team's official website and follow us on Twitter @UKmensgolf.

SEC Championship
April 17-19
St. Simon Island, Ga., Sea Island: Seaside Course
Par 70, 6,898 yards

T9 -- Kentucky (284, +4)
T5 -- Tyler `Chip' McDaniel (67, -3)
T15 -- Cooper Musselman (69, -1)
T23 -- David Snyder (70, E)
T67 -- Cristian DiMarco (78, +8)
69 -- Stephen Stallings (79, +9)