That momentum the Kentucky women’s golf team built in the fall – it didn’t take a break over the winter. The Wildcats moved it forward and into the spring season as UK defeated Louisville in the third annual Battle of the Bluegrass on Monday.
The Wildcats edged the Cardinals 602-606 in the two-round, 36-hole head-to-head match at Timacuan Golf Club in Lake Mary, Florida. Leading by three strokes after the morning round, Kentucky held off Louisville for its first victory in the Battle of the Bluegrass.
Junior Grace Rose shot a pair of even-par 72s to win the individual championship. UK still managed to win the match without the help of Rose’s score, as she played as an individual only.
It was another tribute to the depth head coach Golda Johansson Borst has built after an injury-ravaged 2015-16 season.
“It felt good to be back competing again after this long break,” Borst said. “We enjoy this match against Louisville and it feels great to get a win this early in the season. We have some things we need to work on to get ready before the UCF Challenge next week, but this is something we can build on and take confidence from as we get farther into the season.”
Five of the top seven finishers were Wildcats, but Rose was the golfer of the day. She fired a 72 on both of her rounds and was four shots clear of second place. It was Rose’s two best rounds of the season, as she made her first and only appearance of the fall in October at the Cardinal Cup in Simpsonville, Kentucky.
The 72s were Rose’s lowest round since firing a 67 in the Landfall Tradition in the fall of 2015. It’s the first time she’s finished in first place in a tournament or match competing at Kentucky.
“Grace played some really steady golf today and deserves this win,” Borst said. “She created a lot of opportunities and stayed tough all day. I am so proud of her. She has worked hard over the break and it’s great to see her hard work pay off.”
Junior Isabelle Johansson was the top team finisher for Kentucky. After a rocky 77 to start the day, Johansson rebounded nicely with an even-par 72 on the second 18. UK’s average stroke leader in the fall finished at 5-over par overall and in fourth place.
Freshman Sarah Shipley was tied with Rose after the first round with a 72 but couldn’t maintain it in the afternoon. After a second-round 78, she placed fifth at 6-over par.
Senior Jordan Chael, arguably UK’s top golfer this season with three top-10 finishes in tournament play, couldn’t fine the same magic she had in the fall but still placed sixth at 8-over par.
Freshman Josephine Chang, in seventh place and at 9-over par, and redshirt junior Ale Walker, at 15-over par and in 11th place, finished out the scoring for Kentucky.
The Battle of the Bluegrass win follows off a fall season that included three top-five finishes, multiple individual championships and record-setting numbers.
The tournament took place on the par-72, 6,354-yard course at the Timacuan Golf Club.
The Wildcats will waste no time in trying to keep the momentum going. They will be back in Florida on Sunday for the first of three days of the UCF Challenge in Orlando. It will be the first of four regular-season spring tournaments before the annual Southeastern Conference Championship.
UK came into the week No. 40 in GolfStat’s rankings. Monday’s victory should do nothing but help even more as the Wildcats look for their sixth postseason appearance in seven seasons under Borst.
For the latest on the Kentucky women’s golf team, follow the team on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com.
1. Grace Rose (UK): 72 + 72 = 144 (E)
2. Olivia Cason (UL): 77+ 71 = 148 (+4)
3. Molly Skapik (UL): 72 + 76 = 148 (+4)
4. Isabelle Johansson (UK): 77 + 72 = 149 (+5)
5. Sarah Shipley (UK): 72 + 78 = 150 (+6)
6. Jordan Chael (UK): 74 + 78 = 152 (+8)
7. Josephine Chang (UK): 76 + 77 = 153 (+9)
8. Lauren Hartlage (UL) 77 + 78 = 155 (+11)
9. Louise Oxner (UL): 76 + 80 = 156 (+12)
10. T10. Ale Walker (UK) 83 + 76 = 159 (+15)
T10. Jacqueline Twitty (UL): 80 + 79 = 159 (+15)
12. Meghan Nay 86 + DNP
‑ GO CATS
Associate Director of Media Relations