Men's Golf: Wildcats Travel To Tampa For Gary Koch Intercollegiate

Oct. 2, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After nearly three weeks off since kicking off the fall tournament schedule at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate, the Kentucky men’s golf team returns to action at the Gary Koch Intercollegiate held at the Old Memorial Golf Club in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday.

“This is our tournament and we need to bounce back and have a good event,” Kentucky head coach Brian Craig said. “Old Memorial is a fantastic test of golf and the field is really good. We definitely have our work cut out for us, but are looking forward to the challenge.”

Craig will send a rotation that consists of two seniors, two juniors and one freshman. At the top of the rotation sits junior Brian Belden. The native of Emmaus, Pa., was Kentucky’s best finisher at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate in mid-September. Belden finished the tournament in a tie for 19th after posting an even-par-71 for the final round. 

Senior Jordan Blann, junior James Kania, senior Ben Fuqua and freshman Chase Parker wrap up the rest of the rotation. Senior Derek Oldham will also travel with the team to compete as an individual. All five players played in the Wolf Run.

This will be the sixth year that the Wildcats have played in the Gary Koch Intercollegiate, with UK serving as co-host every year. The tournament has not been played since 2005. The Wildcats have never finished out of the top five in the tournament winning the tournament in 2004 behind the impressive performance from Kentucky great Mark Blakefield, who was the individual winner that year as well.

A year later, in 2005, Kentucky finished in second place behind the great performance of recently departed Matt Kohn. Kohn finished the tournament at an impressive 9-under-par, setting the second-lowest tournament score in the history of the tournament.

The Kentucky name is marked all over the history books of the tournament, posting the third-best score ever in the second round of the tournament and the second-best score ever in the third round of the tournament. Both of those scores came in the Wildcats’ second-place finish in 2005. Also in 2005, UK set the third-lowest 54-hole total score in tournament history.   

The tournament is full of tough competition, including No. 10 Auburn, who is co-hosting the tournament with Kentucky. The rest of the field includes, Augusta State, East Tennessee State, No. 9 Florida State, Georgia Southern, UAB, No. 8 Florida, No. 13 North Carolina, No. 15 North Florida, Louisiana State, Mississippi, South Florida, No. 17 Texas Tech and No. 25 Virginia. The tournament will start with 36 holes on Saturday, with tee times starting at 7:40 a.m. and continuous play after the first 18 holes. The final round will be played Sunday starting at 8 a.m.