WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The Kentucky mens golf program claimed its first NCAA Central Region Championship title in school history with an outstanding performance at Purdue Universitys Kampen Course Saturday afternoon.
Led by juniors John Holmes (73-70-71=214), Brandon Waldrop (70-70-77=217) and Matt Wells (76-72-73=221), the Cats posted a round three 299 score to advance to the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive year, defeating No. 8-ranked Oklahoma State by 11 strokes.
This was a magical week for the Wildcats, Coach Brian Craig said. Everything came together well and Im unbelievably proud of them. We went toe-to-toe with a great team and outplayed them down the stretch.
Three Wildcats finished in the top-10 of the tournament with Holmes leading the way as he claimed top individual honors. Holmes showed why he is considered as one of the best up-and-coming collegiate golfers in the country by putting together three solid rounds of golf on a tough course. The Campbellsville, Ky., product was the only player under par for the tournament with a two-under 214. Will Dodson (72-73-71=216) of SMU finished runner-up as he played even for the tournament.
It was great, Holmes said after winning his second individual title of the season. The team played well and everybody came together at the right time. Brandon Waldrop played the best out of the group. He really stepped up, took charge and led this team to victory.
Waldrop was in first place in the tournament after two rounds, but was unable to hang onto the lead down the stretch. The junior posted his highest finish of the season as he tied for third-place with Jason Hartwick (69-73-75=217) of Texas. Wells also recorded his highest finish of the season as he tied with three other golfers for eighth-place after beginning the day tied for 19th.
I was really impressed with the poise of Brandon Waldrop throughout the tournament, Craig said. I couldnt be happier about the step he took to play some incredible golf. His maturity and confidence was unbelievable. Holmes, Waldrop and Wells played special golf, which was fun to see and well deserving with their effort this year and all the work they have put in.
In addition to the Cats top three performers, Mark Blakefield (79-73-78=230) and Tyler Wilson (81-77-79=237) also played solid down the stretch to contribute to UKs regional victory.
Mark Blakefield and Tyler Wilson also played some great golf for us and gave us the lift we needed, Craig said. It was a great week and now we need to prepare for The Homestead and get ready to win a national championship. Thats been our goal all year and we will see if we can bring home another title.
Kentucky advances to the NCAA Championships for the fifth time in school history. The 30-team field will compete The Homestead Cascades Golf Course in Hot Springs, Va., June 1-4.
1 Kentucky 298 285 299 882
2 Oklahoma State 287 298 308 893
3 Oklahoma 305 294 297 896
4 Texas A&M 292 303 304 899
T5 Texas 298 296 307 901
T5 TCU 305 297 299 901
7 Purdue 295 302 308 905
8 Wichita State 302 300 306 908
9 SMU 302 299 308 909
10 Kent State 301 305 304 910