A top-10 finish for senior Max Mehles at the 2019 Athens Regional is well within reach after a 1-under round on Tuesday. Mehles birdied three times to end the day in a tie for 15th and only two strokes behind a pack of six who are tied for seventh at 1-under after two rounds.
Three strokes are the difference between the Kentucky men’s golf team and a coveted fifth place that would clinch a spot in the 2019 NCAA Championship. After two rounds, four teams are in a tie for fifth at 17-over while the Wildcats sit in 10th at 20-over.
“We are in a good spot,” UK head coach Brian Craig said. “Big cats run late and I think we will give it a heck of a shot tomorrow. It is time to compete and these boys love that. They were made for moments such as this.”
Freshman Cullan Brown needed a bounce-back day after shooting an eight-over 79 round yesterday. He got just that with a 1-over 72. The key difference was getting off to a good start. Brown was already 6-over when he made the turn to the back nine during Monday’s opening round. Today, he was even through nine with three birdies.
An always difficult course showed its teeth today, and seniors Lukas Euler and Fred Allen Meyer battled throughout. Euler and Meyer shot 4-over and 6-over, respectively, to put themselves in a tie for 41st and 49th entering the final day. Junior Matt Liston shot an 82 on Tuesday and is now 13-over and in a tie for 63rd after two rounds.
While Kentucky is three strokes behind the fifth position, this is not a new situation for some of these Wildcats. Mehles, Meyer and Euler all played a part in a team that qualified for the NCAA Championship last season and Liston was the team’s alternate player a season ago. That team had even more ground to make up heading into the third day. Ten strokes separated Kentucky and fifth-place Ole Miss after two rounds, but the Wildcats were able to make up the difference and edge out the Rebels by three strokes to clinch their spot in the NCAA Championship.
Chip McDaniel might have played the role of hero with his 118-yard approach shot on the 444-yard, par-four 18th to hole out for eagle and clinch the team’s spot in the championship, but Mehles and Meyer both contributed with solid performances. They each shot an even-par 72 on the final day to help Kentucky continue its season a year ago. Euler is no stranger to aiding his team in big moments either. As a freshman, he scored his first career top-10 individual finish to help the Wildcats secure a spot in the NCAA Championship that season as well.
Kentucky will begin its round at 8:55 a.m. ET in a quest for a spot in the NCAA Championship. Alternate player and redshirt freshman Zach Norris will make his postseason debut in the No. 5 slot for the Cats during Wednesday’s final round. Live stats are available via golfstat.com.
Four other teams from the Southeastern Conference highlight this year’s 13-team Athens regional, including the host 14th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs, No. 4 Vanderbilt, No. 21 Alabama and Tennessee. The remainder of the field includes No. 9 Duke, No. 19 Liberty, Campbell, Nevada, SMU, Memphis, UNC Wilmington and Princeton.
The NCAA Regional field is comprised of 81 teams and 45 individuals and will compete in six regional sites, May 13-15 (13 teams and 10 individuals at three regionals and 14 teams and five individuals at three regionals). Thirty teams and six individuals will advance from regional sites to the National Championship to be played May 24-29 at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The six regional sites include Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, Washington, hosted by Washington State University; Stanford Golf Course in Stanford, California, hosted by Stanford University; TPC Myrtle Beach in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, hosted by Coastal Carolina University and Myrtle Beach Regional Sports Alliance; University of Louisville Golf Club in Simpsonville, Kentucky, hosted by the University of Louisville; University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Georgia, hosted by the University of Georgia; and University of Texas Golf Club in Austin, Texas, hosted by the University of Texas.
The University of Georgia Golf Course opened in 1968 with the purpose of supporting the university community and a collegiate golf program. Over the years the course has become an important recreation facility not only for the University, but for the state of Georgia as a whole.
Avid golfer Dr. Omer C. Aderhold served as the University of Georgia’s President from 1950-67 and was a driving force behind the creation of the UGA Golf Course.
The University already owned the land and Dr. Aderhold was a personal friend of Robert Trent Jones Sr., the golf course’s architect. In addition, UGA students were so interested in having a golf course that they agreed to pay for it in their student activity fees over a five-year period during the 1960s.
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