Kentucky Men's Golf Finishes Fifth in Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational
March 22, 2009
STATESBORO, Ga. - Led by sophomore James Kania's and senior Andy Winings' one-over-par tournament score, the Kentucky men's golf team finished fifth against an elite 18-team field in its fourth appearance at the 30th annual Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational on the 6,962-yard, par-71 Forest Heights Country Club course.
"This team is really starting to improve," UK head coach Craig said. "We played well this week and we are really starting to improve as the season progresses."
Kania had a career weekend as he tied his career-low 69 during Saturday's second round. The Haverford, Penn., native set a career-low mark for a three-round total of 217 en route to a tie for 14th place. Kania's previously shot a 69 in the final18 holes of the Pat Hicks Invitational during his freshman year.
"I am particularly proud of the way Kania played this week," Craig said. "He played very solid this week and was a big part in our team's finish."
Also tying for 14th place, Winings shot a final round 75 to finish one-over par for his sixth top-20 finish during his senior campaign. Winings led the Wildcats in birdie scoring with 13 throughout the first three-day, three-round tournament of the 2008-09 spring season for UK.
Kentucky native, senior Ben Fuqua finished tied for 36th with a tournament five-over par after sinking his first career hole-in-one during Saturday's second round on the 158-yard, par-three 15th hole. Fuqua was only one of six players over the past three days to record an eagle on the Forest Heights course.
"I was on 14, and coach Craig came up to me and told me how the last two guys did, how the wind was swirling," Fuqua said. "One hit a seven iron and didn't hit the green. One hit a six iron and didn't carry the bunker. Without that knowledge I probably would have gone with a lesser club and came up short as well. I hit a pretty crisp six iron from 158, it carried the bunker and the next thing I know (the fans in the grandstand) started getting excited and my coach started clapping."
Junior Jordan Blann and freshman Mads Kristensen both fired a one-over par in the final round to contribute to Kentucky's second lowest tournament score, 875, in the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational. Blann finished tied for 42nd and led the entire tournament field with 43 pars while tying his career-low mark for lowest three-round total score of 223. Kristensen shot a tournament score ten-over par to finish tied for 62nd.
With Kentucky's fifth-place finish, Kentucky's top-10 streak continues to four this spring season. Kentucky now has back-to-back seasons with at least four or more consecutive tournaments with top-10 finishes. The last time Kentucky accomplished this feat was during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.
Kentucky has beat seven top-50 opponents in the past two tournaments including the defending 2008 national champion UCLA Bruins.
The Southeastern Conference took four of the top five spots as South Carolina walks with the tournament title followed by Tennessee, North Carolina State, Florida and Kentucky. South Carolina's tournament title marks the second year the SEC has taken the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invite tournament title. The defending champion, Alabama, failed to make the trip this year.
The Wildcats return to action March 29-31 for their third tournament this March when they travel to South Carolina for their fifth appearance in the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate, dating back to 2005. Kentucky's best finish in the Hootie came in 2005 when they took home the tournament title. In the last appearance in the Hootie UK finished ninth. Full tournament coverage can be found on UKathletics.com.
5 Kentucky +11 F 297 287 291 875 T14 James Kania +1 F 74 69 74 217 T14 Andy Winings +1 F 71 71 75 217 T36 Ben Fuqua +5 F 75 73 73 221 T42 Jordan Blann +7 F 77 74 72 223 T62 Mads Kristensen +10 F 79 75 72 226
1 South Carolina T2 Tennessee, T2 North Carolina State 4 Florida 5 Kentucky 6 Georgia Southern 7 North Carolina 8 Mississippi 9 Auburn 10 North Florida, U. of 11 Virginia, U. of T12 Vanderbilt T12 LSU 14 Iowa 15 Georgia State Univ. 16 Oklahoma 17 Augusta State 18 Notre Dame