Men’s Golf Unveils 2020-21 Schedule
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Following a shortened spring season combined with an offseason of summer individual successes, the University of Kentucky men’s golf team is fervently ready to return to action this fall. The Southeastern Conference approved play in three fall tournaments for the golf teams last week and the Wildcats will compete in each of those events with an SEC field in addition to a traditional spring slate.
Accentuating the excitement over the start of the season, the Wildcats’ season-opening event at the Blessings Collegiate Invitational will be televised by the Golf Channel. All three rounds Oct. 5-7 will air on the nation’s only channel dedicated to golf. With both the men’s and women’s teams from the league’s 14 schools participating, the Golf Channel will provide coverage each day from 4:30-7:30 p.m. ET.
“We are so grateful that the SEC is allowing our conference to compete in three tournaments this fall with all SEC competition,” UK head coach Brian Craig said. “We have the best golf conference in Division I and will have three elite collegiate events starting in October. Our first priority will absolutely be the safety of our players and all precautions will be taken.
“We are also excited to announce our spring schedule which is fabulous,” Craig said. “This spring schedule will test our team on great golf courses with tremendous competition. It will prepare us for our postseason run which again starts with the SEC Championship on the Seaside Course on the beautiful island of St. Simons. It really does not get much better than that. It has been a long time since we last competed as a team. It was last March, in fact. I think it is safe to say we are chomping at the bit and ready to compete.”
The 2020-21 schedule features three events during the fall and five regular-season tournaments during the spring months. One individual will also compete in the Genesis Open in February which pairs an amateur with a PGA alum competing for a spot in the PGA event that week. Postseason action begins at the SEC Championship in April. The NCAA Regional events are set for May 17-19, 2021 with play beginning at the NCAA Championship on May 28.
Details regarding each course and event are below:
Blessings Collegiate Invitational | Blessings Golf Club | Oct. 5-7
Blessings was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., and opened in 2004 and was home to the 2019 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship. From the back tees, its rating is 79.1 and its slope is 153, making it one of the toughest courses in the country. It features three par-five holes on the out and three par-three holes on the in for a par of 37-35-72. It has a topography featuring hilly terrain which creates numerous sidehill lies, dramatic elevation changes and Clear Creek is in play on several holes.
The event will consist of a three-day, 54-hole stroke-play invitational and will feature a field of all 14 SEC teams on the home course of the University of Arkansas.
Legends Collegiate Invitational | Vanderbilt Legends | Oct. 25-27
Since opening in 1992, the Vanderbilt Legends Club has received national recognition. The par 72 North Course, stretching 7,190 yards from the championship tees, was designed by Hall of Fame golfer Tom Kite and architect Bob Cupp. The greens are well undulated with multiple hole locations and the bunkers are large and boldly shaped. The course path provides an inspired variety of holes through lush fields and around lakes and streams.
Kentucky has played the course most recently as a part of the Mason Rudolph Invitational in 2019 where the Cats finished in a tie for fourth. The three-day, 54-hole event will again feature all 14 league teams.
Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate | Old Overton Club | Nov. 9-10
Old Overton Golf Club is located in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, and opened in 1993. Designed by Jerry Pate and Tom Fazio, Golf Digest rated Old Overton as the third best course in the state of Alabama. The course is nestled in heavily wooded hills with Lake Overton coming into play on several holes on the back nine.
This will mark the first appearance for the Wildcats in this event under Craig. Once again, all 14 SEC teams are expected to be among the field.
Hammock Creek Collegiate | Hammock Creek Golf Club | Feb. 21-23
A Jack Nicklaus Legacy Design, this 18-hole course opened in 1996. The club has played host to dozens of local, state and national events. Featuring five sets of tees and wide fairways, the course layout is friendly to new golfers but also a stern test at 7,131 yards from the back tees for championship golfers.
The Wildcats will begin the spring season playing a course and in a tournament for the first time in the Craig era.
Tiger Invitational | Grand National (Lake) | March 7-9
Auburn will host the 54-hole tournament with a round of 18 taking place each day at Grand National. Built on 600-acre Lake Saugahatchee, 32 of the 54 holes drape along its filigreed shores. Both the Links course and the Lake course were in the top 10 of Golf Digest’s list of “America’s Top 50 Affordable Courses” and all three courses at the Grand National are listed among the nation’s 40 Super Value courses by Golf Digest’s “Places to Play.” With 12 holes hugging the shore of Lake Saugahatchee, the Lake course is one of the most scenic courses you can find. The quartet of par threes is as good as any in the nation.
The Wildcats’ final tournament action in 2019-20 came at the Tiger Invitational a season ago. Alex Goff fired a career-low 6-under-par round of 66 to propel the Wildcats into fourth place at the event. It marked a season-low score for any UK player and tied for the 14th-lowest round of any player under Craig. He finished tied for eighth in the event.
Schenkel Invitational | Forest Heights Country Club | March 19-21
Kentucky will be among the field at the Schenkel Invitational for the 15th-consecutive season after last season’s event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wildcats have finished among the top five in each of the last five competitions. Zach Norris was among the field when UK finished fifth overall in 2019.
Forest Heights is recognized as one of the finest in the Southeast. The course measures out to 6,962 yards from the championship tees. Although the tee shots are relatively forgiving, the players face their biggest challenges when they reach the undulating greens. The greens feature subtle breaks that make it difficult to read and making scoring low a tough task.
Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate | Bulls Bay Golf Club | March 28-30
This 7,220-yard course, just minutes from Charleston, is stimulating and offers two par fives that are more than 600 yards long. This tournament annually features some of the best collegiate programs in the nation. It lies along the tidal salt marshes to the north of Charleston and is known for its bold and somewhat idiosyncratic style. Taking into account the ever-changing coastal wind conditions, fairways are wide and green sites generously proportioned to offer the players a wide variety of approach play.
Kentucky will be making its 17th straight appearance in the event in 2021.
Shoal Creek Invitational | Shoal Creek Golf and Country Club | April 12-13
UK will close out the regular season at the Shoal Creek Invitational in Birmingham, Alabama. Designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus in 1975, Shoal Creek – at 7,400 yards, par 72 – recently hosted the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open in addition to the 1984 and 1990 PGA Championships. It is rated as one of the top courses in the state and is considered one of the country’s best.
Craig’s squad placed fourth in the event in 2019 with Allen Hamilton, Jacob Cook and Norris all seeing action. Hamilton and Cook both scored top-40 individual finishes.
SEC Championship | Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club | April 21-25
The Seaside Course at the stellar Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Georgia, will host the SEC Championship for the 20th time. Since 1927, the Sea Island Golf Club has enjoyed a legacy as one of America’s premier golf clubs. Rated No. 1 in the U.S. among the “World’s 50 Best Golf Resorts” by Golf Digest, Sea Island offers three exceptional 18-hole championship courses. The Seaside Course, updated by Tom Fazio in 1999 and home to the PGA Tour’s McGladrey Classic, is a links course graced by majestic ocean vistas in the tradition of St. Andrews. Sea Island is also the only resort in the world to receive four Forbes Five-Stars nine years in a row.
UK tied for third during the stroke play portion of the SEC Championship and advanced all the way to the match play semifinals in 2019. It marked the first time since the inception of match play to determine a league champion that UK advanced to Saturday’s action. Kentucky defeated Tennessee by a 4-1-0 margin before falling to Auburn, 3-2-0, for a chance at a crown.
NCAA Regional | TBD | May 17-19
Kentucky has advanced to the NCAA Regional in each of its last four eligible seasons, which is the longest stretch of appearances since the team also went four straight years from 2003-06.
The six hosts for the 2021 NCAA Regional rounds are: Ball State, Florida State New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt and Washington.
NCAA Championship | Grayhawk Golf Club| May 28-June 2
The 2021 NCAA Championships will be held from May 28-June 2 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The Tom Fazio-designed Raptor course offers thrilling challenges that commands a player’s respect through a high-stakes game of risk and reward. Stretching 7,090 yards from the back tees, the par-72 course unfolds over the gentle hills and across shaded natural arroyos found in the Sonoran Desert. Most of Raptor’s fairways are generous and the greens are large with sweeping undulations. Misses tend to find deep greenside bunkers and tightly mown grass collection areas, making the scramble to get up and down a true test of the short game.
It is listed among the best public golf courses by Golfweek and Golf Magazine. It is one of only two Scottsdale golf courses to hose a PGA Tour event – the Frys.com Open 2007-09.
For the latest on the Kentucky men’s golf team, follow @UKMensGolf on Twitter and on the web at UKathletics.com.