The Kentucky men’s golf team struggled on a cold and blustery day in Nevada, finishing in a tie for ninth after a final-round 14-over-par 302 Wednesday at the Lake Las Vegas Intercollegiate at Reflection Bay Golf Club. The team was hoping to make a move up the leaderboard, but it wasn’t meant to be. Senior Alex Goff was the bright spot, however, carding four final-round birdies on his way to an even-par 72 and a tie for 15th for the tournament at 1-under-par.
Despite the team’s struggles, Goff had a strong showing, posting his team-high 11th round of par or better and the tournament was the team-best fifth top 20 finish of the season for the Kings Mountain, North Carolina native. Five of Goff’s last six rounds have been even- or under-par, which bodes well for the team moving forward.
Head coach Brian Craig was disappointed with the team’s performance but recognized the harsh conditions they faced. “If you look at the results, there is a huge discrepancy between today’s scores and what tee time you drew. That is not an excuse but the harsh reality of the adverse weather today. However, we have no one to blame but ourselves because we should have been in the last wave today. That was totally under our control and we did not do it. Now, it is time to get back to work and prepare for Schenkel. This team is due for a breakout performance, and the Schenkel would be a good place to start.”
The Kentucky team finished in ninth place, with Little Rock winning the tournament at 20-under, followed by New Mexico State at 13-under, Long Beach State at 10-under, Arkansas State at 6-over, and Kansas City at 7-over. Graduate Dhaivat Pandya posted an 8-over 80 in the final round for a tie of 40th at 7-over for the tournament, while junior Campbell Kremer finished a shot back for the event in a tie for 44th after a final-round 3-over 75.
Freshman Kevin Watts also carded an 8-over 80 Wednesday, tying for 55th at 12-over, while graduate Garrett Wood used a 3-over 75 in the final round to tie for 60th at 13-over. Individually, senior Jackson LaLonde tied for 64th at 15-over after a 78 in the final round while freshman Andrew Clark finished 80th at 23-over. Senior Cooper Parks and junior Tanner Parks rounded out the Wildcat individuals in 90th and 94th place, respectively.
Despite the disappointing finish, the team tied for the most pars in the 15-team field with 163. This demonstrates their ability to grind out solid scores even when things aren’t going their way.
The team will now look to the Schenkel Invitational, which will be held from March 17-19 at Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro, Georgia. This will be another opportunity for the Wildcats to bounce back and show what they are capable of. With Goff’s recent strong performances and the team’s ability to make pars, there is reason for optimism heading into the next event.