MOUNTAIN BROOK, Alabama – The Kentucky men’s golf team suffered a 3-2 defeat to South Carolina at SEC Match Play Wednesday at the Country Club of Birmingham West Course. Graduate Alex Goff and Campbell Kremer picked up wins for the Wildcats but UK fell in its other three matches.
The Wildcats will be back on the course Oct. 2-4 at the Blessings Collegiate Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“We got kicked in the teeth this week and I believe it’s really good for us because it shows where we are and what the standard is in the conference,” Kentucky head coach Gator Todd said. “We all have to get better, players and coaches alike. We’re excited to have to opportunity to compete next week at the Blessings.”
Kremer was first off for the Cats and narrowly came away with a 1-up victory over South Carolina’s Bo Carpenter. Starting off on the back nine of the West Course, Kremer made par on the par-3 11th to win that hole but Carpenter responded by taking the 12th to even the match. Birdies for Kremer won the 13th and 14th holes but a dropped shot at the par-5 15th narrowed the lead. Kremer made par at the par-4 16th for the 2-up advantage, where it would stay for the next five holes until Carpenter won the par-5 fourth with a birdie. The Gamecock won the par-4 seventh after Kremer made bogey but Kremer bounced back with a par for a win at the par-3 eighth before halving the ninth for the Wildcat win.
Junior Jansen Preston and redshirt freshman Solomon Petrie were next off for the Wildcats but the two each suffered a defeat in their first match play rounds for the Cats. Preston, a Lexington native, suffered a 5&4 defeat to South Carolina’s Frankie Harris, while Petrie, from Akron, Ohio, dropped a 4&3 decision to Laurens Schulze-Doering.
Preston fell behind early has Harris won the opening par-5 10th hole with a birdie. After the next two holes were halved, Preston dropped the par-3 13th and par-4 14th with bogeys, before a Harris birdie won the par-5 15th and another Preston bogey on the par-4 16th led to a 5-up lead through seven holes for Harris. Preston made par on the par-4 17th to get one closer but that would be as narrow as the deficit would get as Harris took the par-4 first hole with a par and cruised to the win.
Petrie lost the first two holes to pars, the 14th to a birdie and the 16th to another par to find himself four down to Schulze-Doering. The redshirt freshman took the first hole with a par and, after dropping the second with a bogey, won the par-4 third with a birdie to get it back to three down. Schulze-Doering then won the par-3 fifth with a par and finished the match by halving the par-4 sixth.
Goff, who was fourth off for the Cats and finished in a tie for sixth in the stroke-play portion of the event, took command of his match with Nathan Franks on his opening nine. Finding himself down one after two holes, Goff birdied the par-4 12th and par-3 13th to go 1-up and never looked back. After halving 14 and 15, Goff took the next four holes, two with birdies and two with pars, to go 5-up after 10. Franks got on back with a birdie at the par-4 second hole but a par at the par-5 fourth regained the advantage for Goff before a par at the par-3 fifth solidified the Wildcat point.
“Alex played outstanding golf all week,” Todd added. “He stayed patient when he had to and it paid off for him. He’s proving why he belongs on this stage.”
Freshman Michael Hake then concluded play, narrowly falling to the Gamecocks’ Zach Adams. After an early 2-up lead through three, the Brentwood, Tennessee native found himself all-square after the opening nine. Adams won the par-4 first with a par but Hake bounced back with a birdie at the par-4 second to even the match. However, Adams won the sixth and seventh holes with a par for a 2-up lead before each player made par at the par-3 eighth as the Gamecock took the match, 2&1.