Men's Golf Notebook: Fuqua Impressive at The Players-Am

July 13, 2009

BLUFFTON, S.C. -- Kentucky golfer Ben Fuqua finished tied for 21st with a 5-over-par 293 at the 2009 The Players Amateur held at Belfair Golf Club's West course, July 6-12.

Fuqua, who won the Mason Rudolph Intercollegiate during the 2008-09 season, started the tournament with a 2-over-par 74, good enough for 20th place after the first round. The Danville, Ky., native, then posted a 1-over-par 73 in the second round to move into 16th place and made the final cut of the tournament on the third day with a even-par 72 to stay in the top 20 for the tournament. Fuqua repeated his opening round effort of 74 on the final day to land in 21st place for the historic tournament.

Fuqua birdied the first two holes on the final round Sunday, appearing to be moving into contention for the title, but then bogeyed holes eight, 10 and 12 to erase the early run. The back nine is where Fuqua had the most trouble all weekend, posting over-par scores on the back nine every round. Fuqua shot 6-under-par for the tournament on the front nine.

Fuqua finished 11-strokes behind the tournament champion, Bud Cauley from Jacksonville, Fla. Cauley, who plays for the University of Alabama, shot a 6-under-par 282 for the weekend. Fuqua finished tied for 21st place with two other golfers.

The Players Amateur is a known for producing top golf talent from around the world. Over the past 10 years, current PGA golfers Ben Curtis (2000) and Camilo Villegas (2003) have won the prestigious tournament.

Fuqua played in all 12 events for the Wildcats last season, posting a 73.47 season stroke average. Fuqua's season low round on the season was 65, posting back-to-back 65's at the Mason Rudolph Intercollegiate for an impressive 54-hole total score of 198, a team season low. Fuqua had two top-10 finishes on the year, along with finishing 20th or better in five tournaments. 

Blann, Fuqua, Kania on Top of Player of the Year Standing
Kentucky golfers Jordan Blann and Ben Fuqua, who will be seniors in the 2009-10 season, are currently first and second respectfully in the 2009 Kentucky Golf Association Player of the Year Standings, according to the KGA website.

Blann, who won the 2009 AT&T Kentucky State-Am in June, is first in the standings with a comfortable 50-point lead over Fuqua. The native of Bowling Green, Ky., has 150 points total for the summer, receiving 125 points for winning the State-Am and 25 points for reaching a certain level of qualifying for the United States Open.

Fuqua is holding onto second place in the standings by just one point. The Danville, Ky., native, has totaled 100 points so far this summer receiving 50 points for finishing tied for fourth in the State-Am and 50 points for U.S. Open qualifying.

Blann and Fuqua are followed by Kentucky 2009-10 signee Cody Martin who is tied for ninth place in the standings after gathering 25 points for U.S. Open qualifying. Kentucky 2008-09 sophomore Chase Carpenter is in 17th place after posting 16 points for his top-five finish in the Stephens Oil Classic. 

During 2008-09, Blann played in 11 events for Kentucky posting the lowest round of golf of the season for the Wildcats with a 64 at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate. Blann went on to finish tied for fifth at the Hootie, his best finish of the season. He ended the season with three top-10 finishes and four top-20 finishes.

James Kania is also at the top of a Player of Year Leader board. Kania, who finished second in the Philadelphia Amateur Championship in June is second on the 2009 William Hyndman III Amateur Player of the Year Standings. Kania is only 25 points behind Conrad Von Borsig, who beat Kania in the Amateur Championship, for first place in the point standings. 

Volpenhein Starts Play in U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship
Alex Volpenhein, who will be a senior during the 2009-10 season, will begin play July 13 in the 84th U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship held at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club in Norman, Okla.

Volpenhein, a native of Edgewood, Ky., qualified for the tournament by winning the U.S. Amateur Public Links Qualifier held in Cincinnati in mid June. The tournament is one of 10 national championships that are conducted by the United States Golf Association solely for amateurs.

Volpenhein played in four events for the Wildcats last season, posting a season stroke average of 80.91. His best finish of the year came at the UK Bluegrass Invitational where he finished in a tie for 33rd and stroked a season low round of 75.

Carpenter Finishes Fifth in 2009 Stephens Oil Classic Tournament Amateur Division
UK golfer Chase Carpenter, a sophomore during the 2008-09 season, finished fifth in the 2009 Stephens Oil Classic Tournament Amateur Division held at Cherry Blossom Golf & Country Club in Georgetown, Ky., July 6.

A native of Salyersville, Ky., Carpenter shot a 2-under-par 70 for the 18-hole tournament, finishing two strokes behind first place.

Last season for the Wildcats, Carpenter played in two events posting an 80.67 season stroke average. His low round of the season was a 78 in the Jacksonville University Invitational where he finished in a tie for 32nd.

Martin Falls Short of Back-to-Back Kentucky Junior Amateur Title
Incoming freshman Cody Martin's fell short of his attempt to win back-to-back Kentucky Junior Amateur titles finishing in second place after posting a 5-under-par 139 for the 36-hole tournament at the Lindsey Golf Course in Ft. Knox, Ky., on July 8-9.

Martin, who played in the Boys Division age 17-18, was in good position heading into the final nine holes of play for the tournament, but struggled down the stretch shooting a 38 on the final nine holes and posting a 1-over-par 73 in the final round to fall to second place. Martin was one shot up on the field heading into the final round.

The winner posted a 66 on the final round after shooting a 70 in the first round to win the tournament. The winner was four strokes behind Martin heading into the final day and ended up winning the tournament by three strokes over Martin.

Michael Kania Finishes as Top Qualifier at Open Championship Qualifier
Kentucky 2009-10 signee Michael Kania, younger brother to Kentucky golfer James Kania, shot a 1-under-par 70 to finish in a tie as the top qualifier at the Penn Oaks Golf Club qualifier for the Philadelphia Open Championship.

Kania, who will be making his first appearance in the Open Championship, played brilliant golf in the qualifier, posting an eagle on the par-5 third hole. Kania also posted birdies on holes ten, 13 and 18.

The Philadelphia Open Championship is considered one of the best tournaments in Philadelphia and will be a one-day 36-hole tournament. James Kania will also play in the Philadelphia Open Championship, held on July 22 at Bent Creek Country Club.