Kinney’s Ace in Second Round Highlights Season-Opening 36 Holes
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky women’s golfer Megan Kinney sure knows how to start a season.
The junior from Frankfort, Ky., provided the highlight of the UK women’s golf opener with a hole-in-one in the second round on Monday. Kinney recorded an ace on the par 3, 166-yard sixth hole on a grueling first day at the Minnesota Invitational.
The Wildcats played 36 holes to begin the season, with Kinney’s hole-in-one coming on the second 18. Overall, led by transfer Jordan Chael, the Wildcats sit at 41-over par with scores of 310 and 307 through the first two rounds at the Minikahda Club in Minneapolis, Minn. UK is in 11th place.
Chael, playing in her first tournament, is tied for seventh place at 2-over par, six shots behind Celina Kuenster of Minnesota.
“Today was a very rough day on the course and it was not the start to the season that we wanted,” head coach Golda Johansson Borst said. “We did a lot of good things on the course but we made too many big mistakes that we couldn’t make up for overall. We had some individual success and Jordan really stepped up for us today. She played very solid and was steady for us when we needed it.”
Kinney’s hole-in-one is the first of her career. Needing to rebound from a double bogey and a bogey on the previous two holes, Kinney hit a perfect 4-hybrid on the sixth hole into the wind and dropped it in the cup from 166 yards out.
“It was very exciting,” Borst said. “There were lots of cheers and claps and I don’t think she even believed it went in at first. It was her first one ever and it was a great time to have one.”
Kinney shot 7-over par in the second round and is at 16-over par for the tournament, tied for 57th place.
Chael, however, was Kentucky’s most consistent golfer on Monday. In her first action as a Wildcat after leading Nebraska in scoring average last season, Chael proved why the coaching staff believes she can be an immediate impact player in 2015-16.
The junior from Overland Park, Kan., recorded back-to-back rounds of 1-over par to start the season. Chael carded four birdies in the first 18 holes and three in the second round. After opening the second 18 with a bogey and double bogey on holes 10 and 11, respectively, she played the remaining 16 holes at 2-under par.
Sophomore Isabelle Johansson picked up where she left off a season ago. After qualifying for the 2015 NCAA Championships as an individual, the first Wildcat to do so since Heather Kraus in 1998, Johansson is in the hunt at the Minnesota Invitational at 8-over par, which ties her 29th place.
Johansson battled back from adversity in the first 18 holes in the morning. Despite five holes bogeys or worse, she answered with five birdies to keep her score near par. Johansson was in the top 15 for most of the second round with two birdies until a bogey and double bogey on the final two holes knocked her back in the field.
Sophomore Grace Rose opened her 2015-16 season with a score of 15-over par through 36 holes, while leading returner Cylia Damera, a senior, is at 22-over par. Rose and Damerau are in 56th and 62nd place, respectively.
The final 18 holes of the Minnesota Invitational, hosted by the University of Minnesota, will conclude on Tuesday from the beautiful Minikahda Club, which is playing at 6,119 yards and par 72. Play will resume with a shotgun start at 9 a.m.
Purdue leads at 10-over par heading into the final day with last year’s champion, East Carolina, lurking close behind at 14-over par. Seven of the 12 teams in the field made NCAA regionals a season ago.
Kentucky, which returned all but one of its players from a season ago, is coming off a school-record five straight NCAA regional appearances. The Wildcats posted the second-best stroke average in school history during the 2014-15 season.
Fans can continue to follow along with live scoring of the Minnesota Invitational at golfstat.com.