Behind the third individual tournament victory of senior Chip McDaniel’s career, the Kentucky men’s golf team cruised to its second team title of the 2017-18 season by claiming the Bearcat Invitational at Coldstream Country Club in Cincinnati, Ohio on Tuesday.
The Wildcats were six shots better than Arkansas for the team title, while McDaniel garnered the individual win by a mere stroke.
For the week, Kentucky’s starters fired a staggering 32-under par, 820. That number obliterates the previous Brian Craig era record of 839 set during the 2015-16 season. Not just better, 19 strokes better.
“This was a satisfying week for the Cats,” Craig said. “It is always fun when the birdies are rolling, but I especially love how these boys stayed aggressive and finished like champions. And what can I say about Chip McDaniel? His performance was simply outstanding. He is a thoroughbred and showed it this week.”
McDaniel’s 12-under par, 201, is the second-best 54-hole tournament score under Craig. Only assistant coach Ben Fuqua had a better three-round combined effort of 198 set during the 2008-09 season while he was a senior.
The win is the second in as many tournaments for the Wildcats, as UK opened the season by capturing the Wolf Run Intercollegiate trophy. UK claimed that tournament by six strokes over the runner-up in that tournament as well.
It is the first time since the 2004-05 season, led by future PGA member J.B. Holmes, that Kentucky has won back-to-back tournaments. The Wildcats had a run of three straight that year, which included the 2005 Southeastern Conference Tournament title.
McDaniel didn’t do it alone. After three players secured career-low rounds during yesterday’s record-breaking second round, UK fired back with an 11-under score today. McDaniel, senior Cooper Musselman and sophomore Matt Liston all accounted for 3-under rounds. Junior Fred Allen Meyer shot a 2-under, 69, to aid the winning cause.
Arkansas finished second at 26-under par, with Mississippi State took third at 17-under.
Chip McDaniel, 1st, -12
McDaniel entered the day one stroke off the lead and finished his third round atop the leaderboard powered by a magnificent front nine. Throughout the opening nine holes, McDaniel racked up four birdies. He continued his torrid pace with a red number on the par-five 10th, before suffering setbacks on back-to-back holes. A birdie on the par-four 17th enabled him to shake off the runner-up finisher for the winning 12-under score.
The Manchester, Kentucky, native has now earned three career victories. This is the first since a win at the Intercollegiate at The Grove in October of 2015. He has 57 career par-or-better rounds, 14 top-10 finishes and 22 top-20 finishes.
The combined 201 score absolutely shatters his previous career-low, 54-hole 208.
Cooper Musselman, T9th, -6
Musselman responded from an opening-round, 72, by earning his career-low score of 67 during yesterday’s second round and then followed that with a 68 during today’s final round. His 207 score, edges out his previous career-low 54-hole 208.
The Louisville, Kentucky, native opened the final round by bogeying the No. 1. From there, however, he would play flawless golf. He amassed four birdies, going in the red numbers on the No. 4, 9, 10 and 17 holes for his 3-under round. He finished the tournament in a tie for ninth, marking his second-consecutive top-10 finish and the ninth of his career.
Fred Allen Meyer, T11th, -5
Hot on Musselman’s heels, was Meyer who captured his first top-20 finish of the season behind the most impressive 54-hole total of his career en route to an 11th-place showing. Meyer earned a 208 score which is six strokes better than his previous best. This week’s scorecard also featured a career-low round of 68 during Monday’s second round. Today’s round of 69 would have tied his previous low heading into the tournament.
Meyer’s final round consisted of four birdies to offset a pair of bogeys. He absolutely owned the par-five fourth this week. He had scores of three, four and four during all three rounds. His eagle during the opening round was the lone eagle of the week for the Cats.
Lukas Euler, T16th, -4
Euler, UK’s top finisher at Wolf Run, finished in a tie for 16th with a 4-under total score. He shot a 2-over-par, 73, during Tuesday’s final round. It is the eighth top-20 finish of Euler’s career. Euler boasted a round of 67 during the second round, which is a career-low score. He began today’s round with back-to-back birdies on the first and second holes, and then birdied the No. 16 to help counter three bogeys on the back nine.
Liston finished his week in stylish fashion with a career-low, 68, in today’s round. He had five birdies on the afternoon en route to the best round of his career. He finished the tournament in a tie for 32nd at 2-over par. Senior Evan Cox tied for 51st after back-to-back rounds of 72 to finish out the tournament.
Oct. 16-17 Crooked Stick Intercollegiate Carmel, Indiana
Oct. 28-29 Steelwood Collegiate Invitational Loxley, Alabama
Feb. 18-20 Puerto Rico Classic Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
1 – Kentucky (278, 269, 273 -820, -32)
1 – Chip McDaniel (66, 67, 68 – 201, -12)
T9 – Cooper Musselman (72, 67, 68 – 207, -6)
T11 – Fred Allen Meyer (71, 68, 69 – 208, -5)
T16 – Lukas Euler (69, 67, 73 – 209, -4)
T32 – Matt Liston (73, 74, 68 – 215, +2)
T50 – Evan Cox (76, 72, 72 – 220, +7)
‑ GO CATS –
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