The Kentucky women’s golf team will travel to Florida for its third straight tournament in the Sunshine State this season. For the first time in program history, the Wildcats will compete in the Hurricane Invitational, hosted by Miami (Fla.) University.
The three-day tournament will kick off with a double-tee start Monday at 7:30 a.m. Freshman Josephine Chang will tee things off for UK at 7:30 a.m. off hole No. 1.
The 13-team field will play in a standard 54-hole stroke-play format at the Biltmore Golf Course in Coral Gables, Florida. Live scoring will be available throughout the week at GolfStat.com.
“We are heading to a new tournament down in Miami,” UK head coach Golda Borst said. “We changed up the schedule some this year and we are looking forward to facing some different teams this week.”
Joining Kentucky in the field are Barry, Coastal Carolina, Florida International, Maryland, Mercer, Miami, Middle Tennessee, Oklahoma, Penn State, South Dakota State, South Florida and Virginia Tech. Miami and Oklahoma are both featured in Golfstat’s top 25.
The Wildcats are positioned at No. 57 as they begin their March slate. Kentucky is coming off two tournaments to start the spring season. Seniors Isabelle Johansson and Grace Rose each put up solid numbers in their first two events, taking turns leading the Wildcats to successful finishes. Johansson tied for fifth at the spring opener in the Florida Challenge with an even-par tournament total and Rose posted two under-par rounds to tie for 12th in the Florida State Match-Up.
Now begins an important stretch for a Kentucky team seeking its seventh NCAA regional appearance in eight seasons under Borst. The Wildcats will play in three events, including the Hurricane Invitational, before the Southeastern Conference Championship in April.
Kentucky will present a mix of veteran and fresh faces in the Hurricane Invitational. The fivesome will include Johansson, junior Leonie Bettel, freshman Sarah Fite, Rose and Chang. Junior Claire Carlin will compete as an individual.
“Our lineup also looks a little different with Sarah Fite and Josephine Chang making their way into the top five,” Borst said. “They have both been working really hard at home and I know that our entire team is ready to get back on the road and compete.”
In her last season as a Wildcat, Johansson is leading the roster in stroke average in the spring tournaments at 72.4. The senior from Sweden opened the spring slate carding an even-par 144 in the two-day Florida Challenge, helping the Wildcats secure a fourth-place finish. She followed that up in the Florida State-Match-Up by tying her season-low 54-hole round with a 2-over-par 218.
Bettel has found her way in every tournament lineup since she transferred to Kentucky at the start of the fall season. The junior from Austria has lead Kentucky in two of six tournaments for the 2017-18 year, and the Wildcats have used her score 14 of a possible 16 rounds. Bettel will look to record her first par-or-better round of the spring season in the Hurricane Invitational.
Fite rallied her way into the Kentucky lineup for the first time in her young career. The freshman from Maysville, Kentucky, competed as an individual in three events thus far as a Wildcat. She snagged her best finish in the fall, cranking out her lowest 18-hole round with a 2-over-par 74 in the Cardinal Cup.
Rose has been Kentucky’s best player this season with a team-high three top-20 finishes and a team-best six rounds of par or better. Already, her spring record includes two top-20 finishes and three rounds of par or better. Rose led Kentucky in its most recent tournament in the Florida State Match-Up. The Kentucky native fired a 71-70-74 for a 1-under-par 215 (tied for 12th).
Chang played her way into the Kentucky mix one other time this year. She competed as an individual twice in the fall and for the Kentucky lineup once this spring. The sophomore has improved with each tournament appearance and will look to use that momentum as she approaches the Hurricane Invitational.
Carlin will join the field competing as an individual. Carlin recorded a career-best 6-over-par 150, tallying back-to-back 75s (tied for 16th), in the Florida Challenge this spring.
The Hurricane Invitational will play on the Biltmore Golf Course as a par 72 at 6,150 yards. Designed by Donald Ross in 1925, it is pegged as one of the finest golf courses in Southern Florida.
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