Kentucky Women’s Golf in Third Place out of 18 Teams after UCF Challenge First Round
**Update: The field will now attempt to get the second round in on Sunday, Feb. 4 because of suspected weather moving out of the area.
ORLANDO, Fla. – University of Kentucky women’s golfers swarmed the top of the leaderboard throughout the first round of the UCF Challenge on Saturday, which was originally scheduled to be played Sunday. The Wildcats are in third place out of 18 teams on a 2-under-par 286, with 36 more holes to go at Eagle Creek Golf Club in Orlando, Florida.
Three Wildcats are sitting inside the top 20, including freshman Cathryn Brown (T8, -2), graduate student Jensen Castle (T8, -2) and senior Laney Frye (T19, E), all of which turned in rounds of par-or-better Saturday.
Brown and Castle are tied for eighth place after each turning in 2-under-par 70s.
Brown, a freshman from Eddyville, Kentucky, got off to an unbelievable start for the first official tournament of her college career. She went 3-under through her first 11 holes, which featured eight pars and three birdies. She then recorded a bogey-birdie-bogey stretch on hole Nos. 2-4, the lone blemishes on her scorecard, but she recovered with four straight pars to finish the first round.
Brown is the first UK freshman to turn in a round under par in their college debut since teammate and fellow Bluegrass native Frye did so in Fall 2020 (71).
Castle, who also turned in a round under par in her college debut in Fall 2019 (69), is neck-and-neck with Brown on the individual leaderboard.
The graduate student from West Columbia, South Carolina, found five birdies on the golf course Saturday, making up for three bogeys on the front nine, to also turn in a 2-under-par 70. In fact, two of her five birdies came near the very end of her round, going birdie-par-birdie-par to accomplish the under-par first round down the stretch.
Castle didn’t play in this tournament last season, but she went 66-69-66 to go 15-under for second place in 2022.
Frye, who recorded straight 69s for a 9-under and T9 finish at the UCF Challenge in 2023, was in the mix with Brown and Castle for most of the first round, until she doubled her second-to-last hole of the afternoon, giving her an even-par 72. Still, the senior recorded a team-high tying five birdies to find 19th place ahead of the second and final rounds Monday and Tuesday.
Her 72 marked her eighth round of par-or-better this fall, through 12 rounds total, as she also added to her school-record 55 rounds of par-or-better in her career.
Marta López Echevarría, a junior playing in just her second tournament this season, had the calmest round of the lineup. Her first six holes included three bogeys and a birdie, but she pared every hole after that to go 2-over-par 74 for T43. It marked her lowest score ever counted toward the team total in her college career, and the third-best score on her college resume.
Rounding out the lineup, Marissa Wenzler is in a tie for 53rd place out of 96 players after recording a 3-over-par 75. The graduate student was even par until a troubling triple on her very last hole, the par-4 No. 6.
Because of weather in the area, the second round will not resume until Monday at 8:30 a.m. ET and the final round will be played Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. ET, with shotgun starts for both rounds.
Kentucky, who held a lead for most of the round, is seven shots off the leader North Carolina (-9) and four shots off the runner-up College of Charleston (-6).