LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky men’s golf team travels to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Blessings Collegiate Invitational Monday through Wednesday at the Blessings Golf Club. The nine-team, 54-hole, men’s and women’s mixed team event will be televised live on Golf Channel from 4:30-7:30 p.m. each day.
The event will award men’s and women’s individual medalists, men’s and women’s team winners and a team winner marking the school with the lowest combined score among men’s and women’s teams.
The UK lineup will consist of Alex Goff, Michael Hake, Campbell Kremer, Jansen Preston and Solomon Petrie.
The tournament marks the third of four fall tournaments for the Cats, who will conclude their fall slate at the Steelwood Collegiate Invitational Oct. 28-29 in Loxley, Alabama.
Tournament History: The Cats are teeing it up in the event, which is in its fourth edition, for the second time after finishing eighth as a team in 2020. Then a sophomore, UK’s Alex Goff won the event at 6-under-par, marking the last individual victory for a Wildcat.
The Course: The Blessings Collegiate Invitational takes place on the 7,925-yard layout at The Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville. The course, which plays throughout the Clear Creek floodplain and a plateau bisected by a series of ravines, features a series of elevation changes throughout the rural, wooded property.
The Field: Along with the Wildcats and host Arkansas, Clemson, Mississippi State, N.C. State, Minnesota, North Texas, South Carolina and Washington will participate in the event.
Last Time Out: The Cats finished the stroke-play portion of SEC Match Play in 13th place before dropping a 3-2 match-play decision to South Carolina Sept. 25-27 at the Country Club of Birmingham West Course. Graduate Alex Goff went 69-66-69 to finish in a tie for sixth at 9-under-par for the event, while Goff and senior Campbell Kremer won their individual matches.
The Numbers So Far: Through a pair of events, Alex Goff leads the Wildcats with a 69.50 scoring average, notching a top-10 finish in each event. Redshirt freshman Solomon Petrie ranks second with a 73.17 scoring average.
Goff, who has had all six rounds count toward the team tally, has tallied four under-par rounds, while Petrie and junior Jansen Preston rank second with a pair of rounds of par-or-better.
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 71.60 scoring average through 111 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 – 61 (4)
Campbell Kremer – 23 (1)
Cooper Parks – 9 (0)
Kevin Watts – 8 (1)
Andrew Clark – 7 (1)
Jansen Preston – 7 (2)
Jackson LaLonde – 5 (0)
Solomon Petrie – 2 (2)
Oakley Gee – 1 (1)
Michael Hake – 1 (1)