UK Women’s Golf Announces Strong 2015-16 Schedule
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Coming off a school-record fifth straight NCAA regional performance, the Kentucky women’s golf team has unveiled an exciting 2015-16 schedule that head coach Golda Johansson Borst is confident will provide the necessary tests to prepare her team for another postseason run this season.
“I am really excited about our tournament schedule this year,” Borst said. “We always strive to play in the best events in the country, and I believe we accomplished that goal this year. We’ve got a nice balance of tournaments that will test our girls and prepare them for another great season.”
In a changeup from recent years, the Wildcats will head north to start the season on Sept. 14-15 at the Minnesota Invitational, hosted by the University of Minnesota. It will mark the program’s first appearance at the Minnesota Invitational in school history.
The Wildcats will waste no time for a break when they play in the Mercedes-Benz Championship the following week, Sept. 21-22, in Knoxville, Tenn. UK last played in Tennessee’s annual tournament in 2011.
Both the Minnesota Invitational and the Mercedes-Benz Championship will feature 36 holes of competition on day one, followed by 18 holes on the second day.
On Oct. 9-11, Kentucky will return to the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational for the first time since the 2012-13 season. Annually one of the best tournaments of the fall season, last year’s Tar Heel Invitational featured 12 teams ranked in the top 25, as well as 16 ranked in the top 40.
The Wildcats will end the fall portion of their schedule Oct. 23-25 with an equally challenging task at the Landfall Tradition, hosted by UNC Wilmington. Like the Tar Heel Invitational, the Landfall Tradition is consistently one of the top stops of the fall, as 15 of the 18-team field from last season made NCAA regionals.
“We start off strong in the fall with four good events, but our two toughest events will be the two in North Carolina,” Borst said. “UNC and UNC Wilmington host two of the best tournaments in the fall, and we are looking forward to playing against other strong teams there. The UNCW event will be a new tournament for our team and they play this tournament at a championship golf course at the Country Club of Landfall Dye Course. It should be a really good event for us to finish up our fall season.”
The Wildcats will resume in the spring with a one-day matchup vs. Louisville on Jan. 31 in the Battle of the Bluegrass. Last year marked the inaugural Battle of the Bluegrass. A location for the 2016 version is still to be determined.
For the third straight season, Kentucky will return to the Eagle Creek Golf Club in Orlando, Fla., for the UCF Challenge. This season’s version will be played Feb. 7-9.
After a month-long break, the Wildcats will make an appearance in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate for a second straight season on March 4-6. Held at the beautiful but difficult Long Cove Club in Hilton Head, S.C.,, not a single team in the field last year shot below par.
Hoping to replicate the strong late-season run of 2015, the Wildcats will cap the year with the same two tournaments of a season ago before postseason play begins. First will be the LSU Tiger Classic at LSU’s University Club, March 20-22, followed by the Bryan National Collegiate at the Bryan Park Golf Course, April 1-3. Not a single team shot under par at last season’s Bryan National Collegiate, though UK played well at the Champions Course, finishing in sixth place, the best of the spring season.
“We are excited about going back to the Bryan,” Borst said. “That was one of my favorite courses as a player, and the team really enjoyed that event this past spring. This tournament will again give us an opportunity to play against the best teams in the country as we prepare for the SEC Championship and the NCAA Tournament, so it is a great fit for our schedule.”
Postseason play begins April 15-17 at the SEC Championship in Birmingham, Ala. As always, the SEC Championship is expected to be one of the top conference tournaments of the season, as 11 of the league’s teams made NCAA regionals last year.
Should the Wildcats make a school-record sixth straight NCAA regional appearance – which started in Borst’s first season at the helm – they will head to one of four regional sites on May 5-7: Palo Alto, Calif.; Baton Rouge, La.; Bryan, Texas; or Shoal Creek, Ala.
This year’s NCAA Championships will be held out west at the Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore. Rising sophomore Isabelle Johansson qualified for the 2015 NCAA Championship, the first Wildcat to qualify for the NCAA Championships since Heather Kraus in 1998.
“Our team will be familiar with a lot of these tournaments in the spring as we are going back to UCF, LSU and the Bryan,” Borst said. “LSU is one of the host sites for NCAA regionals, so the more we can play that golf course the better in case we get sent there for the regional play.”
Kentucky is coming off another NCAA regional season, its fifth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats came within mere shots of securing the program’s first NCAA Championships berth since 1992, finishing in seventh place at the South Bend Regional. It was the best postseason finish of the Borst era.
Borst will return all but one player from a season ago, including Johansson, seniors Sarah Harris and Cylia Damerau, and sophomore Grace Rose.
|Sept. 14-15||Minnesota Invitational||The Minikahda Club||Minneapolis, Minn.|
|Sept. 21-22||Mercedes-Benz Championship||Cherokee Country Club||Knoxville, Tenn.|
|Oct. 9-11||Ruth's Chris Tar Heel Invitational||UNC Finley Golf Course||Chapel Hill, N.C.|
|Oct. 23-25||Landfall Tradition||Country Club of Landfall||Wilmington, N.C.|
|Jan. 31||Battle of the Bluegrass||TBD||TBD|
|Feb. 7-9||UCF Challenge||Eagle Creek Golf Club||Orlando, Fla.|
|March 4-6||Darius Rucker Intercollegiate||Long Cove Club||Hilton Head, S.C.|
|March 20-22||LSU Tiger Classic||University Club||Baton Rouge, La.|
|April 1-3||Bryan National Collegiate||Bryan Park Golf Course||Browns Summit, N.C.|
|April 15-17||SEC Championship||The Legacy Course||Birmingham, Ala.|
|May 5-7||NCAA Regionals||TBD||TBD|
|May 20-25||NCAA Championships||Eugene Country Club||Eugene, Ore.|