Cats Break School Record, Finds Second Place Before Final Round
MEDINAH, Ill. – The University of Kentucky women’s golf team broke a school record for the best team round in program history Monday, turning in a 13-under-par 275 in the first round at the Illini Women’s Invitational. The Wildcats didn’t stop there though, as the program played 18 more holes Monday, putting together an 11-under-par 277 in the second round, the third-best team round in program history.
Through 36 holes at the Medinah Country Club (par 72, 6,166 yards) in Medinah, Illinois, Kentucky recorded a 24-under-par 552 and is in second place, just one shot back of the leader.
Our first-round, 13-under-par 275 was a school record!!! 👏🔥#KWG pic.twitter.com/t3iC0T4yEy
— Kentucky Women’s Golf (@KentuckyWGolf) October 11, 2022
No. 13 San Jose State leads the event at 25-under-par 551, while conference foe Alabama and Texas Tech are tied for third place at 20-under-par 556. The Wildcats and the Crimson Tide took turns leading the tournament throughout the first round.
Kentucky head coach Golda Borst has talked all season about the talent on this roster and has anticipated the team clicking at the same time. Big Blue Nation saw a glimpse of that in the first round at Medinah, as four of the five players in the lineup turned in scorecards under par, including Jensen Castle (-6), Marissa Wenzler (-4), Laney Frye (-2) and Ivy Shepherd (-1).
“I am so happy and excited for our team,” Golda said. “They are such a hard working group so it’s very rewarding to see them execute and score as low as they did. They did an awesome job of staying present and confident, and they just had a quiet confidence about them. We did a great job in taking advantage of the par5’s and we played the par-3’s at even, which definitely helped our momentum throughout the day!”
“What I love about today is that it was a total team effort. Each player played a role in us having a great day and that’s part of the reason this group is so good.”
Beginning on hole No. 11 in the shotgun format Monday morning, Castle delivered a headline performance in the first round.
Despite the senior carding a bogey on both the first and last holes, she sandwiched eight birdies and eight pars in between. Castle’s successful trip around the course included three straight birdies on hole Nos. 13-15 to escape the back nine 1-under-par 35. She didn’t let off the gas as she made the turn, which was evident when she carded more birdies than pars (five bridies, four pars) to score a front-nine, 5-under-par 31.
Castle carded a 6-under-par 66 in the first round, marking the fifth 66 of her career and tying her career low.
Her fifth 66 in her career. 🔆@jensen_castle 😼💪 pic.twitter.com/ps7gsEL3vM
— Kentucky Women’s Golf (@KentuckyWGolf) October 10, 2022
She continued to pace the team as the day carried on, collecting four birdies and just two bogeys in the second round to turn in a 2-under-par 70. The Wildcat is 8-under-par 136 through 36 holes and tied for seventh place.
Right behind her is Wenzler, who got off to a hot start for the second straight tournament after producing two consecutive rounds in the 60s. The senior pieced together a 4-under-par 68 in the first round on a blemish-free scorecard that featured 14 pars and four birdies. The 68 marked the lowest round of her career and her first dip into the 60s since last fall.
Wenzler continued to capitalize as she began her second 18 holes of the day, recording a birdie for every bogey and then some. She suffered three bogeys on the back nine, but responded with four birdies. Wenzler rallied two more birdies on the front nine to record a 3-under-par 69 in the second round, which is tied for the second-best round of her career.
Before this event, she has never recorded back-to-back rounds in the 60s in her Kentucky career.
Altogether, Wenzler produced a 7-under-par 137 for a share of ninth place. She is in contention for the first top-10 finish since her freshman season.
Frye went under par twice Monday, too, recording a first-round 70 and a second-round 69. Frye leads the team with six rounds of par-or-better through eight rounds this season, including boasting a trio of rounds in the 60s this fall. Frye made the fewest blemishes on her scorecard throughout the 36 holes, marking just four bogeys overall. In fact, in the second round, she marked a bogey on her opening hole, the par-4 No. 10, then collected straight pars and birdies for the remainder of her round.
The Wildcat is at 5-under-par 139 and tied for 17th place.
María Villanueva Aperribay rallied for a 3-over-par 75 through the first 18 holes, but the senior fired back in the second round. She recorded a 3-under-par 69 in the second 18 holes, which marked the sixth 69 of her career and tied her career best. It also was her first round of par-or-better this season. Ironically, Villanueva Aperribay recorded 15 pars and three bogeys in the first round and responded with 15 pars and three birdies in the second round.
The Wildcat is even par and sitting at tied for 40th place ahead of the final round.
Shepherd was one of four Cats to record an under-par score in the first round, her first par-or-better score of the season. The graduate transfer captured a 1-under-par 71 in the first round, going 1-over on the back nine and 2-under on the front nine. She followed that up with 2-over-par 74 in the second round, producing a 1-over-par 145 tournament total for a share of 51st place.
Making her college debut, Abigail Sutherland competed as an individual. She rallied a 5-over-par 77 in the first round and an 11-over-par 83 in the second round, collecting a pair of birdies along the way to form a 16-over-par 160 tournament total and finding 83rd place.
The Wildcats will compete for the title in the final round Tuesday. Kentucky will be paired with San Jose State and Texas Tech, and the groups will tee off in a shotgun format off hole Nos. 1-3 at 10 a.m. ET.
The lineup can expect a high of 72 degrees, with partly sunny skies and a consistent breeze throughout the round.