JOHNS ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA – The Kentucky men’s golf team battled to a fourth-place finish at the Battle at Briar’s Creek Tuesday at The Golf Club at Briar’s Creek. Senior Alex Goff paced the Wildcats with a season-best second-place finish at 5-under-par.
Kentucky opened with a 2-over-par 290 Monday before finishing its suspended second round Tuesday morning with a 2-under 286 and capping the tournament with a 3-over 291 in the final round.
Wake Forest won the tournament at 13-under-par followed by Memphis at 4-under, UNC Wilmington at 1-over, the Wildcats at 3-over and Virginia Tech at 7-over.
“We have quite a few positives to build momentum from this week,” Kentucky head coach Brian Craig said. “However, today was a disappointing finish. We were five shots out of the lead going into the final round and just did not execute like we needed to. The process is simple. You learn, grow and get better. We have much to learn from today and will use it to be better next time out.”
Goff was under-par in all three rounds, carding a 2-under 70 in each of the first two rounds before finishing with a final-round 1-under 71. A native of Kings Mountain, North Carolina, Goff was tied for fifth in the field in par-5 scoring at 6-under while ranking third in the 66-competitor field with 41 pars. The tournament marked Goff’s third-career top five finish and sixth in the top 10. He now has a team-high nine rounds of par-or-better in 15 rounds in 2022-23.
“Alex continues to lead this team,” Craig said of the senior. “He had an excellent outing finishing second place and was solid every round.”
Graduate Garrett Wood and junior Campbell Kremer followed Goff in the team tally in a tie for 29th at 3-over. Wood struggled to a 3-over 75 in his opening round but used seven birdies over his final two rounds to play even-par the rest of the way. Kremer went 1-under in his opening round, his fourth par-or-better round of 2022-23, but used a pair of birdies to close his second round at 1-over before a final-round 3-over 75.
Graduate Dhaivat Pandya and freshman Andrew Clark then concluded the team portion of the scoring in a tie for 36th at 6-over. Pandya opened with a 2-over 74 but was stricken with a pair of double-bogeys on his way to a 3-over 75 second round before carding three birdies on his way to a 1-over 73 final round. Clark responded from a 4-over 76 in his opening round by tying his career-low 1-under 71 with five birdies in the second round before posting a 3-over 75 in the final round.
Freshman Kevin Watts posted a strong showing among a group of four Kentucky individuals, notching a career-best tie for 12th. The Colleyville, Texas, native went 1-under in his opening round before a 2-under 70 in the second round catapulted him into the top 5. A 3-over 75 in the final round dropped Watts outside the top 10 but the showing was a strong one for the rookie, who posted the first two under-par rounds of his collegiate career.
“Shoutout to Kevin Watts,” Craig added. “He had a fantastic first 36 holes and was right around the lead going into the final round. He did not play his best but gained valuable experience that will help him in the future. And that future is extremely bright.”
For the tournament, the Wildcats were the best team in the field in par-3 scoring at 4-over, second with 180 pars and third in par-4 scoring at 13-over.
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