Wildcats Close SEC Championship with Best Round of the Weekend
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Though the Kentucky women’s golf team didn’t have the type of weekend it hoped for heading into the annual Southeastern Conference Championship, the Wildcats closed out the three-day tournament on a high note with its best score of the weekend.
UK fired a final-day 297, its second sub-300 team score in its last 12 rounds, to end the tournament at 57-over par and in 14th place. Finishing the tournament and perhaps the season on a strong note, all five Wildcats carded rounds in the 70s for the first time this weekend at the Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Ala.
Freshman Anna Hack led Kentucky this weekend with a 1-over 73 for the second day in a row. She finished in a tie for 23rd, her second top-25 finish in the last three tournaments.
Alabama, the No. 1 team in the country, entered the day in a tie for first place with No. 7 Florida. But, with three Alabama players finishing in the top six on the individual leaderboard, the Crimson Tide pulled away and won with a score of 5-under par. It was Alabama’s first SEC title since 2013.
Florida finished in second place at even par. The Gators’ consolation was individual champion Maria Torres, who carded a 9-under par during the 54-hole tournament.
The Wildcats were up against a brutal field this weekend, as has become the norm for the SEC Championship. Laying claim to the best women’s golf conference in the nation, 10 SEC teams entered the week in the top 50, six in the top 25 and four in the top 10.
Hack performed Sunday as she often has in the spring season: wonderfully. She carded her second straight round of 1-over par in the final round to finish at 223, a career 54-hole low.
The freshman from Paducah, Ky., got off to a rough start Sunday with a bogey and a double bogey on two of her first four holes, but she settled down and played brilliantly the rest of the day. She carded two birdies on her second nine – the front nine – and made just one bogey the rest of the day, on her final hole of the tournament.
Joining Kentucky in the fall with a world of potential but untested against college competition, Hack will return for the 2016-17 season as one of UK’s top golfers and as a sign of the promising future for Kentucky women’s golf. Fifteen of Hack’s 17 rounds in the spring were in the 70s, and she just narrowly missed out on claiming the team’s best stroke average in the spring at 76.3.
Sophomore Isabelle Johansson just barely beat Hack in the spring with a 76.2 average. Johansson, who last season became the first UK women’s golfer to qualify for the NCAA Championships as an individual since 1998, was the Wildcats’ best golfer throughout the season and finished with a team-high six top-50 finishes.
Johansson missed out on the top 50 in the SEC Championship at 19-over par and in a tie for 55th. She recorded three birdies on her opening nine holes Sunday, but a quadruple bogey on her 11th hole stopped her from going low.
Senior Cylia Damerau tied Johansson in 55th for the weekend after a final-day 74. Damearu had posted top-20 finishes in each of the last two SEC Championships, and she closed out her successful run at the league tournament with three birdies in the final round.
If Sunday was the last tournament of Damerau’s solid career at Kentucky, she will finish with five career top-20 finishes in tournament play. Her 15 career rounds of even par or better would tie for the third most in program history since 1987.
Junior Jordan Chael, who played in all 10 events in her first season at UK after transferring from Nebraska, shot a 75 in the final round and tied for 58th at 20-over par.
If the SEC Championship was indeed the 2015-16 finale for the Wildcats, sophomore Grace Rose will own the most top-20 finishes among Wildcats this season with two. With three birdies Sunday, Rose also carded a 75 and ended up at 21-over par overall, in a tie for 63rd.
This is the second straight season the SEC Championship has been played at the Legacy Course at the Greystone Golf & Country Club. Playing at par 72, 6,195 yards, the Legacy Course is carved naturally from a visually dramatic landscape of placid lakes, meandering streams and the undulation of Alabama's Appalachian foothills.
Designed by world-famous architect Rees Jones, each hole is an inviting yet demanding contest. The Zoysia fairways and Bent Grass greens found at Legacy provide golfers with surfaces that are both challenging and rewarding.
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.
Legacy Course at Bridgestone Golf & Country Club