UK Women’s Golf Opens 2015-16 Season at Minnesota Invitational
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Building on a school-record five straight NCAA regional appearances, the Kentucky women’s golf team begins its 2015-16 season on Monday at the Minnesota Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn.
The Minnesota Invitational will be the first of three fall tournaments for the Wildcats over the next seven weeks before breaking for the winter.
“We are looking forward to getting our season started on Monday,” head coach Golda Johansson Borst said. “I think this will be a good opening event for us as we will be competing against some very good teams this week. We have five experienced players with us and I’m excited to get back out on the course with them.”
Hosted by the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Invitational will feature 12 teams, seven of which made the NCAA regional field in 2015. East Carolina, which won last year’s tournament, is back in the field, as is Kent State, which won it in 2013.
This year’s 54-hole tournament will be played over two days. The first and second round will take place Monday with a grueling 36 holes. The conclusion of the tournament will be on Tuesday with the final 18.
Located southwest of Minneapolis, Minn., just west of Lake Calhoun, the beautiful and historic Minikahda Club will play at 6,119 yards, par 72.
The Minikahda Club has a long and storied past, playing host to the 1916 US Open, the 1927 USA Amateur, the 1957 Walker Cup, the 1988 US Women’s Amateur and the 1998 Curtis Cup.
Head coach Golda Johansson Borst will roll out an experienced lineup for the first tournament with a senior, two juniors and two sophomores.
Isabelle Johansson, who didn’t join Kentucky until January, has quickly turned into an impact player for the Wildcats. In just her sixth collegiate tournament, Johansson qualified for the 2015 NCAA Championships, the first Wildcat to qualify as an individual since Heather Kraus in 1998.
Grace Rose will look to build off a strong end to her freshman season when she posted consecutive top-50 finishes, while Jordan Chael will appear in her first tournament as a Wildcat after transferring from Nebraska. Chael led the Cornhuskers in scoring average as a sophomore.
Cylia Damerau, now a senior, is the leading returner for the Wildcats after posting a 75.8 stroke average during the 2014-15 season, including a 12th-place finish at the Southeastern Conference Championship.
Megan Kinney is making her first appearance since the LSU Tiger Classic in late March.
What’s at Stake
The Kentucky women’s golf program is as strong as it has ever been. In 2014-15 the Wildcats …
- Made NCAA regionals for a school-record fifth straight season;
- Came within just a few strokes of qualifying for the NCAA Championships after a strong final-round push at the South Bend Regional;
- Placed seventh at the South Bend Regional, the best in the Borst era;
- Posted the second-best scoring average in school history;
- Sent a golfer (Johansson) to the NCAA Championships as an individual for the first time since 1998.
And yet, Borst called the 2014-15 season an inconsistent one. The reason: heightened expectations.
The Wildcats have improved their team stroke average in every season but one under Borst, a trend the Wildcats would like to continue in 2015-16. With a perfect combination of budding young talent in Johansson and Rose, seasoned seniors in Damerau and Sarah Harris, and strong additions like Chael, the expectations have never been higher in the Borst era.
No matter what challenges lie ahead during the 2015-16 season, Borst wants the Wildcats to “find a way” and make it to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., in May. The first step in getting there starts Monday in Minnesota.
Head coach Golda Johansson on the upcoming season …
“Overall we have a very solid fall schedule and the tournament fields will get more competitive with each event. This fall will really help us prepare for the spring and give us an opportunity to get better week in and week out. We want to win every tournament we compete in, but this is also a great time to find out what we need to work on as we build towards the spring and our ultimate goal of making the NCAA Championships.”
How You Can Follow
Fans can follow along with live scoring of the Minnesota Invitational 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.