Three Cats Earn Top-15 Finishes, Kentucky Caps Florida State Match Up in Third Place
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The University of Kentucky women’s golf team tapped in a weekend-best 15 birdies in the final round of the Florida State Match Up, while three Wildcats had their best round of the tournament Sunday. UK concluded the event with a 15-over-par 303 in the last 18 holes for a 28-over-par 892 tournament total, finishing in third place among 12 teams.
Three Wildcats finished in the top 15 in a field of 65 at the unique event, marking the second time this season, including Jensen Castle (-1, T3), María Villanueva Aperribay (+5, T7) and Ivy Shepherd (+10, T15).
Castle paced the lineup all weekend.
The senior recorded two straight rounds of par-or-better to begin the Florida State Match Up, which included a second-round 67 Saturday. Her performance down the stretch of the second round helped her find a share of the lead heading into the final round. Castle went +4 through her first 10 holes Sunday, taking her out of contention for time being. However, in usual Castle fashion, she responded with three straight pars and two straight birdies to take a share of the lead once again, this time with just three holes remaining. The veteran was troubled with an untimely triple on the par-4 No. 16 and then a bogey on the par-4 No. 17, before paring the final hole of the tournament.
Castle’s 6-over-par 78 in the final round produced a 1-under-par 215 tournament total to tie for third place. It is her fifth straight finish inside the top 10, a series the began at the Illini Women’s Invitational last October.
Teammate Villanueva Aperribay took a big leap forward this week, producing some crucial rounds for the Wildcats.
The senior matched her first-round 73 with a final-round 73, recording a trio of birdies during the day. She carded a clutch birdie on the par-4 No. 17, which helped her break into the top 10 down the stretch.
Overall, Villanueva Aperribay rallied a 5-over-par 221 tournament total for a share of seventh place. It marked her first finish inside the top 10 in her last 18 events and since a T5 performance at the 2021 NCAA Columbus Regional. She becomes one of three Cats to claim a finish inside the top 10 in 2022-23.
Like Villanueva Aperribay, Shepherd shined in the final round. The graduate earned a 2-over-par 74 Sunday, two strokes better than the 76s she recorded both Friday and Saturday. Ironically, she began both the front nine and the back nine with bogeys during the final round, but a pair of birdies on each side of the course helped her balance things out.
The graduate transfer from Clemson rallied a 10-over-par 226 to find a share of 15th place at the Florida State Match Up. It is her second top-15 finish in her last four tournaments in 2022-23.
Marissa Wenzler never could return to the success she found in the first round, earning a 7-over-par 79 in the final round for a 17-over-par 233 scorecard at the Florida State Match Up. The senior, who was tied for 10th place at just +1 after the first 18 holes, concluded the tournament in a share for 33rd place.
Marta López Echevarría got better after each round this weekend, recording a 6-over-par 78 Sunday. The sophomore rallied her first nine holes under par at the Florida State Match Up, clocking a trio of birdies on the back nine. That included back-to-back, under-par marks on hole Nos. 11-2 and then again on her final hole of the tournament on the par-4 No. 18. Competing in just her second lineup this season, López Echevarría concluded the event on a 23-over-par 239 tournament total to tie for 50th place.
Kentucky has finished in the top three a trio of times this season, including its podium finish at the Florida State Match Up. The program will compete in its final event of the season at the Clemson Invitational at Lake Keowee in Sunset, South Carolina, from March 24-26.
T3 Jensen Castle 70, 67, 78 … 215 (-1)
T7 María Villanueva Aperribay 73, 75, 73 … 221 (+5)
T15 Ivy Shepherd 76, 76, 74 … 226 (+10)
T33 Marissa Wenzler 73, 81, 79 … 233 (+17)
T50 Marta López Echevarría 82, 79, 78 … 239 (+23)