Wildcats Open Spring Season at Puerto Rico Classic
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico – For the second year in a row, the Kentucky men’s golf team will take on legend Greg Norman’s River Course at Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort, Feb. 19-21 in Puerto Rico to open the spring slate. At the Steelwood Intercollegiate, the final event of the fall, the Wildcats finished second out of 11 teams at 2-under par – their highest finish of the season.
What Head Coach Brian Craig is Saying:
“We are really excited to get the spring season started this week in Puerto Rico. The guys have been working hard and seem to be in good form for this early in the spring. Our schedule has tested us all year, and this week’s field is no different. The guys and I are looking forward to getting south and getting the season started off on a positive note.”
About the Lineup:
The starting lineup will feature sophomores Fred Allen Meyer and Lukas Euler, juniors Tyler “Chip” McDaniel and Cooper Musselman, and senior Stephen Stallings. Sophomore Fadhli Soetarso and junior Evan Cox will compete as individuals.
McDaniel enters 2017 strongly as he leads the team in 18-hole scoring average (71.5) and boasts a low 54-hole round of 210. He also owns a team low, 6-under par for the course that he shot at the Steelwood Intercollegiate, the final tournament of the fall. The junior would ultimately earn third place for the event, his second top-three and third top-10 finish of the season. McDaniel also carded the low 18-hole round (67) for the team at the Bearcat Invitational.
Musselman also scored under par for the Steelwood Intercollegiate at a solid 2-under. The Louisville, Kentucky, native leads the team in top-20 finishes with four and is second in 18-hole scoring average at 72. Throughout the fall, Musselman placed in the top 10 twice – fifth at the Kenny Perry Invitational and seventh at the Steelwood Intercollegiate. The junior also fired two sub-70 final rounds during the last two events of the fall.
Euler, a sophomore from Dieburg, Germany, finished in the top-20 for both of his fall appearances, and shot a season-low 69 in the first round of the Steelwood Intercollegiate. His current average sits at 72.6 through five rounds.
Stallings has one top-10 finish alongside an eleventh-place showing this season. Through his 11 total rounds, the senior holds a 73.6 18-hole average. Meyer has two top-20 finishes and a top-10 finish this season. His highest finish was a tie for eighth at the Kenny Perry Invitational, where he concluded the final round with a 3-under, 69.
Cox will see his first action since the Kenny Perry Invitational, where he placed just outside the top 50. His best fall finish came at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate where he concluded in a tie for 18th. Soetarso posted a 24th-place finish in Kentucky’s last outing after he posted back-to-back even-par rounds. The sophomore carded three top-30 tournaments during the fall.
The Tournament Field:
Musselman and McDaniel led UK to fourth place at the Puerto Rico Classic last season, while Meyer had a career-day in the final round. UK’s junior duo of Musselman and McDaniel ended the tournament tied for 11th in the individual standings. A successful third day for both, McDaniel finished with a 2-under, 70, and Musselman with a 1-under, 71, his best round of the season to that point.
Alabama has won the event in each of the last three years. Also in the field is No. 10 Georgia, No. 19 North Carolina, No. 21 Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Middle Tennessee State, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Purdue, UNC-Greensboro and Virginia Tech.
About the Course:
Set on the picturesque Caribbean coast, the Puerto Rico Classic 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 second year that Kentucky will be competing.
Live stats will be available on BirdieFire. The tournament will be played over three days with the teams playing beginning with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. ET each morning. The 54-hole event will conclude on Tuesday. Teams will be paired based on the results from the first two rounds and will play 18 holes every day.