LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky men’s golf team travels to Alabama for SEC Match Play Monday through Wednesday at the Country Club of Birmingham West Course in Mountain Brook, Alabama. All 14 SEC schools will participate in 54 holes of stroke play, including 36 Monday and 18 Tuesday, before the match-play portion Wednesday. The top two finishers from stroke play square off in the final groupings of the day while the other 12 teams participate in an East vs. West Match Play format.
The UK lineup will consist of Alex Goff, Michael Hake, Campbell Kremer, Jansen Preston and Solomon Petrie.
The tournament marks the second of four fall tournaments for the Cats, who also will participate in the Blessings Collegiate Invitational Oct. 2-4 in Fayetteville, Arkansas before concluding the fall slate at the Steelwood Collegiate Invitational Oct. 28-29 in Loxley, Alabama.
Tournament History: The Cats are teeing it up at SEC Match Play for the third time, including this second version of the unique three-day event. UK finished 14th in the stroke-play portion before falling to Arkansas in match play a season ago. Through the 54 holes of stroke play, Campbell Kremer tied for 23rd at 3-under, while Alex Goff tied for 36th at 1-under.
The Course: The Country Club of Birmingham was founded in 1898 but moved to Mountain Brook in the 1920s when Donald Ross designed two 18-hole courses for the club. The layout has been renovated several times, including redesigns by both P.B. and Pete Dye.
Ranked by Golf Digest as the second-best course in Alabama in 2023-24, the par-71 layout plays a 7,226 yards.
The Field: Along with the Wildcats, SEC foes Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Missouri, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt will participate in the event.
Last Time Out: In Gator Todd’s first tournament as head coach of the Wildcats, Kentucky tied for sixth at the Folds of Honor Collegiate Sept. 4-6 at American Dunes Golf Club in Grand Haven, Michigan. Alex Goff tied for second at even-par for the event, while Campbell Kremer bounced back from a slow start to tie for 16th at 4-over.
Goff tied for best in the 90-competitor field in par-5 scoring at 6-under-par while tying for the second-most birdies with 12. Solomon Petrie tied for fifth in the field with 37 pars while Kremer notched the Cats’ lone eagle of the week, an ace on the 192-yard par-3 12th hole in the opening round to turn around his season-opening event.
The Numbers So Far: Alex Goff leads the Wildcats with a 71.00 scoring average and the Cats’ only top-10 finish after a tie for second in the opening tournament of the season. Campbell Kremer, with a tie for 16th in Michigan, ranks second on the team with a 72.33 scoring average.
Goff has the Cats’ lone under-par round, while Kremer, Michael Hake and Jansen Preston have each carded an even-par round.
Cats Open Gator Todd Era in 2023-24: Head coach Gator Todd leads the Wildcats for the first time in the 2023-24 season after a successful six seasons on staff at Vanderbilt, where he most recently served as associate head coach. Working alongside Commodore head coach Scott Limbaugh, Todd helped lead Vanderbilt to four top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, the first to NCAA Regional championships in school history and two Southeastern Conference crowns.
During his time in Nashville, the Commodores accumulated 22 regular-season and postseason tournament titles. Vanderbilt totaled 18 All-Americans, 24 All-Region selections, four SEC Players of the Year and 18 First- and Second-team All-SEC choices.
UK Returns Nine: The Wildcats return nine players off the 2022-23 roster, including graduate Alex Goff, senior Campbell Kremer and sophomore Kevin Watts, who each played in every tournament a season ago. In all, the returning Cats have played 329 total rounds in 112 events heading into the 2023-24 season.
In addition, Kentucky welcomed Lexington native and Vanderbilt transfer Jansen Preston along with talented freshmen Wesley Beard and Michael Hake.
Goff, Kremer Highlight Returners: Goff, who currently holds the Cats’ best career scoring average dating back to the 1993-94 season, was a Second-Team All-SEC selection a season ago after leading UK with a 70.73 scoring average with a team-high five top-10 finishes and nine in the top 20. Kremer, who joined Goff as an Academic All-SEC selection, posted a 73.67 scoring average last year, sitting third in the team with eight par-or-better rounds and 24.3 team counted rounds.
Goff in Final Season of Historic Career: Goff, who graduated in December 2021 with a degree in finance and is currently pursuing his master’s in business administration announced his decision to return for a fifth season last May. Not only did Goff lead the Wildcats in several statistical categories as a senior a year ago, many of his numbers rank favorably among Kentucky golfers dating back to the 1993-94 season. Consider:
– In the 2022-23 season, Goff’s 70.73 scoring average and -0.73 strokes versus par ranked the best among Wildcats in that era, besting J.B. Holmes’ 71.29 average, -0.13 strokes against par, in his 2003-04 All-America campaign.
– Goff’s 84.5% finish percentage ranked second behind Holmes’ 93.2% finish percentage in 2003-04 narrowly ahead of Holmes’ 83.5% finish percentage in 2001-02.
– Goff’s season par-4 scoring average was best in program history at 4.0000, besting Holmes’ 4.0234 in 2003-04.
– His 4.6917 par-5 average ranked third while his 3.0942 par-3 average ranked sixth.
– Goff’s 7-under 65 in the second round of the Hootie at Bulls Bay last year is tied for the fourth-lowest round for a Wildcat since 1993-94. Four different players, including Goff at the Vanderbilt Legends Collegiate in 2021-22, have carded a 64. The 7-under-par round is one of a dozen by Wildcats since 1993-94, marking the best score versus par.
– For his career, Goff’s 71.70 scoring average through 108 rounds ranks best of any Wildcat, ahead of Chip McDaniel’s 72.02 average in 137 rounds from 2015-18.
Career Par-or-Better Rounds (in 2023-24):
Alex Goff – 58 (1)
Campbell Kremer – 23 (1)
Cooper Parks – 9 (0)
Kevin Watts – 7 (0)
Andrew Clark – 6 (0)
Jansen Preston – 6 (1)
Jackson LaLonde – 5 (0)
Michael Hake – 1 (1)