Kentucky Kicks Off Tournament Schedule At Wolf Run

Sept. 11, 2009


ZIONSVILLE, Ind. -- After what head coach Brian Craig described as one of the best summers his team has ever had, the UK men's golf team looks to keep its momentum high as the squad travels to Zionsville, Ind., to co-host the Wolf Run Intercollegiate with Indiana at Wolf Run Golf Club Sept. 12-13.

"We are tired of playing and practicing at home and ready for the season to start with the Wolf Run Intercollegiate," said Craig, who enters his ninth season as Kentucky's head man. "It is a new year and we are ready to get back on top. This team has a chance to be really good and is looking forward to the challenge."

Craig and associate head coach David Trainor will take seven players on the trip to Zionsville, which includes three seniors, two juniors and two freshmen. After much qualifying the last few weeks, junior Brian Belden, who is coming off a redshirt season last year, finished as Kentucky's top qualifier, followed by seniors Jordan Blann and Ben Fuqua, junior James Kania and senior Derek Oldham, in order of how they qualified. The two freshmen on the trip, Michael Kania and Chase Parker, will play as individuals in the tournament.

Last year, Belden played in two events, both in the fall season, before redshirting. In 2007-08, the native of Emmaus, Pa., played in nine events with a season stroke average of 74.35. Belden's best finish of the year came at the UK Bluegrass Invitational where he finished tied for first. One of the tournaments Belden played last year was the Wolf Run, where the junior finished tied for 58th place. 

Blann, Fuqua and James Kania, the top three returners heading into the season, each posted impressive seasons last year and played great this summer. Michael Kania and Parker, part of Kentucky's impressive freshman class this season, will see their first college action of their bright careers this weekend after playing well in qualifying the last couple of weeks. 

This marks the second consecutive year that the Wildcats will kick off their tournament schedule with the Wolf Run, and the fourth straight year Kentucky has played in the tournament. Last year, UK finished fourth in the tournament paced by 2008-09 senior Andy Winings, who finished tied for second, and Fuqua, who posted a top-10 finish.

The Wildcats have never finished out of the top five in the tournament, finishing tied for fifth in 2007-08 and winning the tournament in 2006-07.

Along with co-host Indiana (receiving votes), Kentucky will join Louisville, North Florida (receiving votes), No. 21 Michigan, Tulsa, Kansas State, Ball State, IUPUI, Missouri, No. 12 Illinois, Iowa State, Penn State, UCF (receiving votes), Toledo, Eastern Michigan and Purdue to make up the field of 17 teams.

The tournament will begin Saturday, Sept. 12, with a shotgun start and 36 holes of continuous play. The final 18 holes will be played Sunday, Sept. 13.