Wildcats Hope to Ride Momentum into Ron Moore Intercollegiate
HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. – With two individual titles already in the bag, the Kentucky women’s golf team will try to build on its early season success this weekend at the Ron Moore Women’s Intercollegiate at Highlands Ranch Golf Club.
Coming off a fourth-place and a sixth-place finish to start the season at the East & West Match Play Challenge and the Minnesota Invitational, respectively, the Wildcats will return to action after a two-week break in tournament play.
The three-day tournament includes 18 holes each on Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Play begins Friday at 10:30 a.m. ET with live scoring at BirdieFire.com.
“We are looking forward to competing again this week,” head coach Golda Johansson Borst said. “Most of the girls have never been this far west so playing at a higher altitude will be a good experience for them. We are bringing essentially the same five players from the first two events and I know they are itching to compete again.”
The Wildcats will return to traditional stroke play after a combination of stroke and match play at the East & West Match Play Challenge more than two weeks ago. UK finished in second place in the stroke-play portion of that tournament thanks to one of the best team rounds of the Borst era in the second round, but the Wildcats lost both of their matches to end up in fourth. Freshman Sarah Shipley, who played as an individual only, won the individual bracket of match play.
It was the second individual championship for the Wildcats in about a week-and-a-half span. Junior Isabelle Johansson, in the first tournament of the season, tied for first place at the Minnesota Invitational.
Hosted by the University of Denver, the Ron Moore Women’s Intercollegiate will be the biggest field yet UK has played in this season.
“We wanted to play a wider range of teams this year and this tournament will provide us with this experience,” Borst said. “I believe it will be good for our girls to see some different schools as this will help prepare us for postseason as well.
“We have had a solid couple of weeks of practice and competition at home. The entire team has been focused and everyone keeps pushing each other to get better. I believe we have prepared well and I'm confident that we are ready to compete and have some fun this weekend.”
As Borst mentioned, she will use the same core of competitors that has seen action so far in the 2016-17 season. Competing this weekend will be redshirt junior Ale Walker, freshmen Josephine Chang and Shipley, senior Jordan Chael, and Johansson.
Four of the five finished in the top 10 of stroke play at the East & West Match Play Challenge. The other, Johansson, owns the aforementioned Minnesota Invitational co-championship. All five have played a vital role in Kentucky’s 74.7 stroke average thus far.
Walker and Chang both tied for fourth place in stroke play at the East & West Match Play Challenge with 36-hole scores of 1-under par. Walker fired a 70 in the second round for her best 18-hole score since October 2014, while Chang made her collegiate debut with a 1-under 71 in her first round at Kentucky.
Though Shipley didn’t participate in the team portion of East & West Match Play Challenge, she finished in seventh place in stroke play at 1-over par and then cruised in both of her matches to win the individual bracket.
Chael has been rock-solid in both tournaments this season, finishing in eighth place in stroke play at the East & West Match Play Challenge while sporting a 74.8 stroke average. Johansson owns a 72.6 stroke average with a career-low 68 in the final round at the Minnesota Invitational.
The Highlands Ranch Country Club will be playing at 6,450 yards this week with a par of 72. The course was designed by three-time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin and offers magnificent views of the Rocky Mountain Front Range.
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