The University of Kentucky claimed its first-ever Southeastern Conference men's golf championship on Sunday, shooting a 3-over-par 283, to finish the 2005 championship with a three-round total of 875, two shots better than second-place Auburn, at 877, at the Sea Island Golf Club - Seaside Course. This is the third tournament title of the spring for the Wildcats.
The SEC Championship was the first for mens golf and the third for UK in the past three months as it joins womens tennis and mens basketball as 2005 conference champs.
With the win, the Wildcats earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Regional. Dates and locations will be announced at a later time.
I cant say enough about this team and the effort theyve put in the last few years. They mean so much to this program and to me as a person, said head coach Brian Craig. This is a monumental achievement for our program and every ounce of the credit goes to those guys. Theyve worked hard, not just this past week, but over their careers to get our program to this point. This team has a lot of guts and a lot of heart and I think, ultimately, thats what won it for us down the stretch.
The Cats shot a final round 283, which was the best round of any team in the championship. Senior John Holmes led the Wildcat charge with a third place finish at 215. Right behind Holmes was teammate Matt Kohn and Florida's Brett Stegmaier, who tied for fourth at 217. Kohn shot a 1-under-par 69 on Sunday, which was Kentucky's best round of the day and tied Holmes opening round 69 for the best UK round of the tournament.
Matt Wells also finished among the top 10, tying for seventh with a three-day total of 219 (70-77-72). Mark Blakefield fired a third-round 71 to bring his final tally to 225 (78-76-71), followed by Brandon Waldrop who shot an even par to finish 35th overall with a score of 228 (77-79-72) to round out the scoring for Kentucky.
All five of these guys just played a beautiful round of golf today, said Craig. For each of them to go out and shoot a 72 or lower on an extremely difficult course on the last day of the SEC tournament is a tremendous accomplishment.
Tennessee's David Skinns captured individual medalist honors with a three-round score of 210, one shot better than second place Richard Scott of Georgia, who came in at 211. Skinns and Auburn's Tyler McKeever shot the best rounds of the third round, at 2-under-par 68. McKeever finished in sixth place.
Auburn made a run at the Wildcats. The Tigers were one shot ahead of the Wildcats entering the third round but Kentucky' 283 edged the Tigers' 286 on the final day by three shots. Last year's champion Georgia placed third with a three-day score of 883 while Florida, which led after Saturday's round came in fourth with a score of 888 in three rounds.