Wildcats Open 2016 with Puerto Rico Classic

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky men’s golf team opens its 2016 spring season on Sunday as the Wildcats hit the course in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico for the Puerto Rico Classic. The 54-hole event marks the first of five regular-season spring tournaments for the Wildcats. 

What coach Brian Craig is saying:

"This is our first trip to the Puerto Rico Classic. It is a long-standing event with great tradition and as good of a field as we will see all year. This team had a solid fall and we are eager to start the spring. Our ultimate goal is to be ready to compete at the end of the year in the post-season events. This is the first step in the process and I can't wait to start competing with these young men again."

About the lineup:

This weekend’s tournament will feature a five-player team lineup with four additional players competing as individuals. The starting lineup will feature senior David Snyder, junior Stephen Stallings, sophomores Tyler ‘Chip’ McDaniel and Cooper Musselman, and freshman Fred Allen Meyer. Chris Meuth, Lukas Euler, Jalen Ledger, and Harrison Greenberry will compete as individuals. 

The fall season saw many successes for the Wildcats, clinching their first fall victory since 2011 in the Intercollegiate at The Grove. McDaniel led the team to a tie for third at the Ocean Course and a fifth place finish at the Dick’s Sport Goods Collegiate Challenge Cup. The team also had successes individually, with McDaniel grabbing his second-career victory and Stallings placing in the top 20, both at The Grove. 

McDaniel finished the fall as UK's leader averaging a 71.09 stroke average in 12 rounds of action. He was the top finisher for the Wildcats in all four fall tournaments, carding top-five finishes in all four fall events.

Snyder and Stallings were mainstays in the lineup for the Cats in the fall season. Stallings garnered a pair of top-10 finishes, while Snyder tied for 19th at the Ocean Course for his best finish.

Musselman appeared in three fall events for Kentucky and capped the season with a tie for 14th at the Grove. Meyer will make his 2015-16 season debut at the Puerto Rico Classic after fending off an injury that kept him out of action during the fall campaign. 

The Tournament Field:

The impressive tournament field includes Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Purdue, UNC Greensboro, and Virginia Tech. 

Eight of the teams finished in the top 10 at the Puerto Rico Classic in 2015, with Georgia securing the victory. Georgia Tech, Alabama, and Oklahoma were close behind at second, third, and fourth, respectively. Three of the teams competing, including Georgia, have won at the Puerto Rico Classic since its inception in 1999. Georgia’s win last season ended a four-year win streak by the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Five of the teams competing in the tournament are currently ranked in Golf Week’s Top 25, with Alabama and North Carolina sitting at spots No. 7 and 8, respectively. 

The Course: 

Set on the picturesque Caribbean coast, the Puerto Rico Classic will switch locations this year, and will be played at Rio Mar Beach and Spa Resort’s River Course in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. Although the tournament began in 1999, this will be the first year that Kentucky will be competing. 

Players will tee off with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. ET on Sunday for the 54-hole event. Teams will be paired based on the results from the first two rounds and will play 18 holes every day, concluding on Tuesday. Fans can follow along with live scoring here

Rio Mar Beach and Spa Resort's River Course
Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
Feb. 21-23
Par: 72
Yardage: 6,945

UK Lineup: 
1 – Chip McDaniel
2 – Stephen Stallings
3 – Cooper Musselman
4 – Fred Allen Meyer
5 – David Snyder
Individual – Lukas Euler
Individual – Harrison Greenberry
Individual – Jalen Ledger
Individual – Chris Meuth

For the latest on the Kentucky men's golf team, follow @UKMensGolf on Twitter and on the web at UKathletics.com