Things are looking bright for UK golf. Maybe that’s just my biased opinion, but I believe it’s going to pay off here shortly. Last season, the Cats made the NCAA regional tournament before losing in what I considered a disappointing finish. This year, the Cats are primed to make some noise in both the regular and postseason, and if they are able to win the national championship I will be the one man party on State Street. Turn down for what.
2012 Season Recap: The Cats had some talent last year, but for the most part they severely underperformed. Then-juniors Ben Stow and Stephen Powers were the only two consistent players, leading the Cats in scoring in 9 of their 12 matches. Team wise, the Cats had a very strong fall, and a very weak spring (the competition also vastly improved). They finished top-5 in all four fall matches, while they only broke the top-5 barrier once in the spring (8 matches). The Cats struggled in the 3-5 positions and that’s going to need to improve this season.
Who’s Back: Seniors Ben Stow and Stephen Powers are going to be the heart and soul of this team once again. Stow, for those of you that didn’t know, played in the British Open this past summer which is pretty good I guess. Powers was 2nd on the team in scoring average last season, but led the team in six of their twelve matches. Fellow starters Will Bishop and Cody Martin are back this season to make four of five starters back for the Cats (Chase Parker graduated). In fact, Bishop actually won an event, finishing first at the Quarencia Cabo Collegiate. In the fifth starting role, look for sophomores Harrison Greenberry or Todd McDaniel to step up. Greenberry posted the third lowest scoring average last season as a freshman in five events, while McDaniel had some quality summer play by qualifying for the US Amateur Public Links.
Incomers: The golf Cat’s latest freshmen class is a solid one. Three in-state guys make up the class, two of them from St. Xavier. /Bangs head on coffee table because we didn’t sign Justin Thomas, back to typing/. Cooper Musselman is the Kentucky state high school champion, while Stephen Stallings (his teammate) finished third. Both guys can come in and contribute right away, while Christopher Meuth appears to be more of a project player.
Expectations: My expectations last year for Kentucky were to qualify for the NCAA tournament and make it through one round of regionals. Unfortunately they fell short of that, losing in the NCAA regional tournament. I think that goal is very attainable this season, seeing that they have experience (three senior starters, one junior) and talent. A better finish in the SEC tournament is also very attainable as they finished 13th in it last year.
2013 Season So Far: This past weekend the Cats participated in the Northern Intercollegiate tournament, finishing 5th of 15 teams. The Cats three-day total was 883, 12 shots behind 4th place finisher Liberty. UCF, Virginia, and Houston were the other three teams that beat Kentucky, with UCF winning at 866. The Cats did beat some decent opponents (including some that us UK people love to beat) in Louisville, Indiana and Ohio State. Like last season, Powers and Stow led the way, with Powers shooting 68-75-75 to finish 13th, and with Stow shooting 70-75-76 to finish 20th. Almost as good as me. Almost. The Cats get after it again in two weeks at the Wolf Run Invitational in Zionsville, Indiana. Good luck men!