Wildcats Shoot Lowest Score of the Week During Final Round
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – If the Kentucky men’s golf team was going to gain any momentum heading into its postseason run, it needed a strong performance during the final round of The Collegiate Invitational at the Country Club of Birmingham. The Wildcats did just that as the team turned in its lowest score of the tournament and all eight players shot their lowest round of the week to conclude play on Wednesday.
Graduate student Reid Bedell led the way and capped the tournament in a tie for 36th overall following an even-par 71. He was 8-over for the tournament. Kentucky concluded the event in 14th overall among a field that featured 13 teams ranking in the top 50 of the latest Golfstat rankings.
“The Country Club of Birmingham is one of the best tests of golf we have ever played,” UK head coach Brian Craig said. “A huge thanks for the club membership hosting this event on such short notice. Unfortunately, our first two rounds were so bad we were behind the eight ball. Today’s round was very solid and one of the better rounds of the day.”
Kentucky’s collective 4-over score on Wednesday tied for the fifth-lowest round on the course.
Fourth-ranked Clemson (+2) took top team honors and bettered runner-up and No. 19 Tennessee (+8) by six strokes. No. 22 North Florida (+11), No. 10 Vanderbilt (+17) and ninth-ranked Auburn (+19) rounded out the top five.
Bedell was UK’s top finisher, but every Wildcat turned in their best performance during Wednesday’s final round. It was exactly the finish they needed as they head into the Southeastern Conference Championship beginning April 21.
All eight of UK’s players, five starters and three individuals, opened play off the No. 10 tee.
Bedell got off to a tough start with back-to-back bogeys to get into a hole early. He combated that with birdies on the par-four 12th and the par-four 14th to get back to even par. Another miscue at the 14th was offset with his third birdie over his first eight holes at the 16th. He made the turn at even par and played steady over the next seven holes. The Fair Haven, New Jersey, native earned another birdie at the par-four sixth before a bogey at the eighth resulted in his final even-par score.
Bedell has been a spark for the Wildcats this spring starting in all five events. He has placed either first or second among the starting lineup’s finishers in four of them. He’s also picked up six par-or-better rounds, including Wednesday’s score.
Senior Allen Hamilton and sophomore Alex Goff tied for 60th overall. Hamilton produced a 1-over 72 and Goff shot a 3-over 74.
Hamilton was steady throughout his round. He began the day with a birdie on the 10th but suffered a bogey at the 14th. He made the turn at even par and played 11 straight holes that way. A bogey at the eighth was his only blemish on his back nine for his final 73.
Goff suffered a bogey on the opening hole but pared the remainder of his opening nine. He offset a bogey at the first with a birdie at the par-four fourth, but then he had bogeys at the fifth and seventh.
Graduate student Jacob Cook concluded the week in 73rd overall, but matched Hamilton with a round of 72 on Wednesday. Cook’s round emulated the momentum the Wildcats sought during today’s round. He had bogeys on the and 11th and 15th, as well as a triple-bogey at the second and faced a 5-over hole. But Cook shook it off and slowly chipped away at the deficit with birdies at the third, fifth, eighth and ninth to cap the round in style.
Junior Zach Norris tied for 73rd on the individual leaderboard, but logged a round of 73 to close out the tournament. Norris was 2-over at the turn and logged a birdie at the fourth before yielding the stroke back at the fifth for his final margin.
Freshman Hugo Archer led the way for the three individuals. Archer ended the week in a tie for 43rd overall. He notched an even-par and career-low 71 on Wednesday, his fourth round of 72 or better over his last five played. The highlight of his round was an eagle at the par-five 15th.
“It was also nice to see Hugo Archer keep gaining confidence,” Craig said. “He played two nice rounds of golf here and is definitely rounding into form.”
Sophomore Cooper Parks matched Norris’ finish with a tie for 74th. He logged a round of 74 during the final day of action. Parks had a pair of birdies on the day.
Sophomore Jackson LaLonde placed in 79th after a 75 to finish his tournament. LaLonde had birdies at the 16th and the seventh.
“Now, it is back to work to prepare for the SEC Championship,” Craig said.
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