UK Women's Golf Looks to Continue Momentum at Darius Rucker Intercollegiate
HILTON HEAD, S.C. – After almost a month since its last match – the Wildcats’ best of the year – the Kentucky women’s golf team will try to continue its momentum this Friday through Sunday at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
As usual, the Wildcats will face some of the country’s best teams. Of the 17 teams participating, seven are ranked in Golfstat’s top-25 rankings, including defending champion No. 2 Duke.
But the Wildcats appear to be ready for the challenge this week after a fifth-place finish at the UCF Challenge in February, a tournament in which three Wildcats finished in the top 20 for the first time since the LSU Tiger Golf Classic in March 2014.
Teams will tee off on the first and 10th holes Friday at 8:30 a.m. on the Pete Dye Course at Long Cove Club.
“We are very fortunate to be back in Hilton Head for the Darius Rucker Invitational this week,” head coach Golda Johansson Borst said. “This is one of the finest events in the country and we will face one of the tougher courses of the season in Long Cove. Cylia (Damerau), Bella (Johansson) and Grace (Rose) have been here before so they will be more comfortable and can share their knowledge about the course with their teammates. I believe we have prepared well and I know the girls are ready to get back on the course and compete.”
Traditionally one of the spring stops for some of the nation’s best teams, this week’s tournament will be no different for the fifth annual Darius Rucker Intercollegiate title.
Highlighting this year’s field are No. 1 Southern California, No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Arkansas, No. 4 Alabama and No. 5 Georgia.
In addition to defending champion Duke, which has captured the crown the past two years, all of last year’s top-10 tournament finishers will be returning to the links. Duke’s Leona Maguire also returns this weekend after taking home the individual championship last year.
UK finished in 16th place in last year’s tournament.
Located on the banks of one of South Carolina’s most beautiful islands is the Long Cove course, sculpted by Pete Dye, one of the century’s greatest golf course architects.
The work-of-art course will play at par 71 and 6,208 yards. The course has consistently been rated among the top golf courses in the country. Most recently, in 2014, it was ranked No. 15 in the Top 100 Residential Golf Courses in the U.S. by Golfweek Magazine.
Coming off a fifth-place finish at the UCF Challenge, Borst will roll out the same lineup that proved successful last month with senior Cylia Damerau, sophomore Isabelle Johansson, sophomore Grace Rose, freshman Anna Hack and junior Jordan Chael.
Damerau will look to top her impressive play at the UCF Challenge where she finished fourth overall, her third career top-10 finish. After posting a 76 in the first round, she followed with back-to-back rounds of 1-under par and recorded nine birdies for her best career finish.
Johansson finished 11th in the UCF Challenge with 41 pars. It was her team-leading fourth top-50 finish of the season, and she continues to lead the team with a 75.2 scoring average.
Firing one over her career-low 54-hole score of 222, Rose finished in 19th place at the UCF Challenge with a 223.
For the first time in her career, Hack recorded all three rounds in the 70s, while Chael finished in a tie for 81st place.
What’s at Stake
The positive momentum the Wildcats had been seeking for much of the 2015-16 season came to fruition at the UCF Challenge. UK played by far its best tournament of the season and reaped the benefits from it, jumping nearly 20 spots in the rankings in mid-February.
Now the challenge will be to keep the ball rolling. UK has re-opened the door to its season-long goals, including a sixth straight NCAA regional appearance, but the Wildcats still have their work cut out for them and need to build upon a now-established foundation.
Building the next level this weekend would be big for Kentucky’s postseason chances.
How You Can Follow
Fans can follow along with live scoring of the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate Tournament at golfstat.com.
As always, fans can follow the team on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com, for the latest Kentucky women’s golf information.
Darius Rucker Intercollegiate
Long Cove Club – Pete Dye Course
Hilton Head, S.C.