Coming off an electric high of winning its home tournament for the first time since 2011, the Kentucky women’s golf team is back in action this week at the Trinity Forest Invitational in Dallas.
The Wildcats will play in their first tournament in 22 days after claiming victory at the Bettie Lou Evans Invitational with a record performance. Similar to the setup of UK’s first two fall tournaments, the Minnesota Invitational and the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship in September, Kentucky will play 36 holes Monday and 18 Tuesday.
Both Monday and Tuesday’s rounds will being with a shotgun start. Live scoring will be available at Golfstat.com.
“We are looking forward to a new tournament and a new challenge this weekend at Trinity Forest,” Kentucky head coach Golda Borst said. “The course will be a good test for us in ball control and short-game skills and I believe we have prepared well over the past two weeks to get ready for it. This team has the experience needed to compete in this field and I know they are ready to get back on the road again.”
UK is wrapping up its four-tournament fall schedule, which has exceeded expectations in many regards after losing three key seniors from last year’s team. At their win in Lexington earlier this month, which featured the best 54-hole team score in school history (858), all five Wildcats competing for the team score placed in the top 35, with three in the top 15.
The same quintet – senior Leonie Bettel, sophomore Rikke Svejgård Nielsen, junior Sarah Shipley, freshman Casey Ott and junior Josephine Chang – that led Kentucky to the Bettie Lou championship will be back in action in Dallas.
Bettel punctuated the Bettie Lou title with her second straight individual championship, becoming the first Wildcat to win multiple tournaments in a season since Lauri Berles won two tournaments in 1995-96. Only All-American Kate Rogerson, who won four tournaments all the way back in 1989-88, has won more. With a score of 205 (11-under par), Bettel recorded the best 54-hole score in school history at the Bettie Lou.
Thus far, Bettel has finished in the top six in all three fall tournaments and is ranked No. 19 in Golfstat’s individual rankings. She is averaging a dazzling 69.8 a round and has a low round of 65 on the season. Her accuracy and mental toughness have resulted in eight of her nine rounds at par or better, which is already tied for the third most in a single season in school history.
Shipley and Svejgård Nielsen both tied for 14th at UK’s home tournament. Shipley, who has remained a consistent threat throughout the fall for the Wildcats, shot a season-low 69 in the first round to secure a top-15 finish for the fourth time in her career. Svejgård Nielsen, who captured the championship trophy in her first outing as a Wildcat at the MSU Greenbrier Invitational, is averaging a solid 72.2 – second best on the team – after six rounds of competitive play.
Ott just missed a top-25 showing at the Bettie Lou with a score of 6-over par, tied for 28th. It’s her best finish in three collegiate tournaments.
Chang finished in a tie for 32nd and played a key part in closing out Penn State as the Nittany Lions tried to make a comeback in the final round of the Bettie Lou. This fall, Chang has been a dependable asset to the team, averaging 75.3 in nine rounds.
The Trinity Forest Invitational field will feature 12 teams, five of which were in the top 50 in the recently released Golfstat rankings and two of which were in the top 25. UK, host SMU, Tennessee, UTSA, Dallas Baptist, Kansas State, North Texas, Colorado, Oregon State, Kansas, Illinois, and Tennessee-Chattanooga will comprise this week’s field.
Trinity Forest will play as a par 72 with a yardage of 6,233 this week. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw designed the links-style course to resemble many of the great old courses of the northeast and Great Britain. A rolling meadow with tall native grasses and dramatic bunkering and green complexes, Trinity Forest is the home of the PGA TOUR’s AT&T Byron Nelson Championship.
This will mark UK’s first appearance at the Trinity Forest Invitational. Last year, the championship went home with the Wildcats of Kansas State with a final team total of 29-over. Also among the leaderboard were conference foes Tennessee (third place) and Texas A&M (tied for fourth).
Individually, SMU Senior Brigitte Dunne placed runner-up last year at her home tournament and is back in the field again this year.