Women's Golf
Jensen Castle, Laney Frye Ready for Augusta National Women's Amateur

Jensen Castle, Laney Frye Ready for Augusta National Women's Amateur

by Tim Letcher

Kentucky women’s golfers Jensen Castle and Laney Frye are both making return trips to one of the most hallowed golf courses in the world this week. Both players realize how special it is and they plan to relish this opportunity.

Castle and Frye will be participating in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in Augusta, Georgia. The first two rounds of the event will be at Champions Retreat and those who qualify will be able to play the final round at the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters.

For Castle, this will be her third appearance in the event. She has made the cut in her previous two trips, including a tie for 12th place in 2022. Despite being a veteran of the event, it still means a lot to Castle.

“It’s special. Obviously, it being my third year it’s super easy to overlook it but at the end of the day, you’re playing Augusta National,” Castle said. “It doesn’t matter how many times you play it, it’s always super special. It’s a great opportunity.”

Frye missed the cut last year but she plans on taking the experience from 2023 and adjusting it for 2024.

“I think I kind of made the week, I really built it up in my head,” Frye said. “Preparation, I did more work on property than I normally do for a tournament. So, I’m trying to simplify it, treat it just as a normal tournament because my best is good enough. Just not putting it on a pedestal quite like I did last year.”

Both players know that the experience of having been there before will be a benefit to them this season.

“I know what it feels like to be standing on Amen Corner and seeing as many people as there are and being on Augusta National,” Castle said. “It is still a feeling that you’ll never get used to. Even me preparing in my head, the nerves per se, that you feel in that corner, it’s still more than you think it is. You have to be in the moment to experience it, honestly.”

Frye agrees with her teammate.

“It definitely does. I know what it takes at Champions Retreat,” Frye said. “Just the vibe of the competition, it’s different having a break on Friday, a practice round mid-tournament. Everything was new last year. It doesn’t change the fact that you’re out playing a five-hour golf round, in a threesome. It’s still golf, fairways, greens, tee boxes. The experience from last year should help a lot.”

Both players are looking forward to what will be their last appearance in this event.

“This is my last year, I know that it’s my last year,” Castle said. “So, the closure and clarity I have knowing that, I think I’m going to go in and appreciate it a little more. Not that I haven’t appreciated it in the past, but it’s going to be my last time walking Amen Corner. It’s going to be my last time walking up 18 wearing a Kentucky shirt. Stuff like that, I will appreciate it.”

Frye plans on soaking up everything that comes with this special event, including the non-golf portions.

“The dinners are really special,” Frye said. “The food is incredible but just being with everybody on Augusta National property, seeing it in a non-golf light, it’s pretty neat.”

So, how are these two Wildcats playing heading into this week?

“It’s so crazy how the sport of golf is,” Castle said. “Golf is about having your best week at the right time. And you don’t know when it’s going to come. Last year before Augusta, I had to pull out of a tournament, didn’t even play, then I ended up playing well at Augusta. Right now, I’m playing fine. It’s not anything special, but it’s all about playing good golf at the right time and hopefully that falls on Augusta National and the Augusta Women’s Amateur.”

Frye admits that she’s playing well right now.

“I’m playing well. I didn’t score my best at the last event but, it’s day by day,” Frye said. “You never know, you could wake up and be a 76, you could shoot a 59. You don’t know what’s coming, that’s the beauty of it.”

Play begins on Wednesday, April 3 at Champions Retreat. A field of 72 players will compete for the chance to play at the venerable Augusta National track in the event’s final round on Saturday. Castle and Frye both hope to be among the top 30 players who make the cut, allowing them to participate in the final round at Augusta National in their final appearances in the event.

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