Women's Golf
Castle Wins Carolina Four-Ball Championship with Record Score

Castle Wins Carolina Four-Ball Championship with Record Score

by Eric Lindsey

NEWTON, N.C. – Kentucky women’s golf’s summer of championships continued Wednesday with Jensen Castle collecting the latest hardware.
The record-setting rising sophomore teamed up with Wake Forest’s Rachel Kuehn over the last two days to win the 43rd Carolinas Women’s Four-Ball Championship. The duo torched the 26-team field by six shots with a score of 16-under par. With a birdie on the final hole of the 36-hole tournament, the pair locked up the tournament’s scoring record.
The four-ball format, also known as best ball, involves two-person teams where each player on the team plays their own ball throughout the round. The player with the lowest score on the hole (“best ball”) out of the two-person tandem serves as the team’s score.
Castle more than played her part with eight birdies at the Catawba Country Club in Newton, North Carolina.
As has been the case all summer for Kentucky women’s golf, other Wildcats shined this week. Senior Sarah Shipley was the top amateur finisher at the Michigan PGA Women’s Open at Crystal Mountain Golf Course in Thompsonville, Michigan. Shipley tied for sixth in the 78-player field with a score of 6-under par over three days. She fired red numbers in all three rounds.
Incoming freshman Laney Frye, already a champion this summer at the Pete & Alice Dye Junior Invitational,  was in contention for another title Wednesday. She entered the day one shot back at the American Junior Golf Association’s Circle K Junior Championship at Otter Creek Golf Course in Columbus, Indiana. Frye started the day in second place and finished in third placea at 1-under par.
Over the weekend, Janika Rüttimann won the Vorarlberger Landesmeisterschaften in dramatic fashion with a one-shot victory at Golfclub Bludenz-Braz in Vorarlberg, Austria, while Rikke Svejgård Nielsen lost on the third playoff hole in the VejleMatchen after a marvelous final-round comeback at Vejle Golf Club in Vejle, Denmark.
All told, with rising sophomore Marissa Wenzler claiming the 105th Metropolitan Women’s Amateur Championship last month, UK women’s golfers have won four titles since the end of the 2019-20 collegiate season with a number of other top finishes.

  • Jensen Castle – Carolinas Women’s Four Ball Championship (championship)
  • Laney Frye – Pete & Alice Dye Junior Invitational (championship)
  • Casey Ott – Arkansas State Golf Association’s Women’s Stroke Play Championship (second place)
  • Janika Rüttimann – Vorarlberger Landesmeisterschaften (championship)
  • Rikke Svejgård Nielsen – VejleMatchen (lost in playoff)
  • Marissa Wenzler – Metropolitan Women’s Amateur Championship (championship), Myrtle Beach Collegiate (second place)

Castle setting another record Wednesday should come as no surprise after raising the standards at UK in her freshman season. The most decorated signee in program history lived up to high expectations by setting the school’s new single-season stroke average record (71.88 per 18 holes), by becoming UK’s first All-Southeastern Conference First Team pick since Cindy Mueller in 1989 – and the first to do so as a freshman – and by placing in the top 20 in five of six events, the best mark on the team. She also added two top-10 showings with 11 of 17 rounds at par or better, a team high and the third-best mark in school history despite the shortened season. The team used her score in 15 of 17 rounds.
Shipley, who will return to Kentucky this season for an NCAA-granted extra year of eligibility after the COVID-19 pandemic, is the most experienced player on UK’s roster and one of the central figures of the program’s evolution the last few years. She has appeared in 37 events, and at 99 rounds played, she’s poised to make a run at the most career rounds at Kentucky, which currently belongs to Ashleigh Albrecht with 111. With a career 75.5 stroke average, Shipley owns four top-10 finishes and seven top-20 showings. The Hastings, Michigan native posted a career- low 73.9 stroke average this past season and set a number of career bests, including tying for fifth at the Bettie Lou Evans Invitational, the Wildcats’ home tournament.
Frye, the lone freshman in the UK women’s golf 2020 signing class, won 2018 Kentucky High School Athletic Association state championship and nearly made it two in a row with a runner-up finish in 2019. She was the anchor behind back-to-back team state championships for Lexington Christian Academy in 2018 and 2019. As a result, she was named Kentucky Miss Golf in both years as well. She’s also a three-time All-State First Team selection. Frye has certainly included herself in that mix of the country’s top players. In the most recent Golfweek rankings, she’s rated No. 87 overall and No. 24 in the class of 2020.
Kentucky’s 2020-21 roster is shaping up to be the strongest group of players in program history. Nine of 10 players from the record-setting 2019-20 season are returning after winning two team championships, setting a new team scoring record and posting 10 top-10 individual finishes.
The group will join Frye and Augusta transfer María Villanueva Aperribay, who posted a 73.6 stroke average in her first season in college.
For the latest on the Kentucky women’s golf team, follow the team on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com.

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