Jensen Castle carded another under-par round, Rikke Svejgård Nielsen returned to her old reliable ways, and the Kentucky women’s golf team put itself in the middle of the pack after day one at The Ally.
The Wildcats are tied for sixth place after the first of three rounds at Old Waverly Golf Club (par 72, 6,280 yards) in West Point, Mississippi. With two individual performances of par or better – the seventh consecutive round at least two UK players have posted red numbers – Kentucky fired a 1-over-par 289.
Castle and Svejgård Nielsen led the way for the Wildcats with a pair of 71s. They are tied for 15th overall at 1-under par.
“We were close to putting together a really good round today and unfortunately we lost a few shots coming down the stretch,” UK head coach Golda Borst said. “But that’s golf and I’m proud of this group. They battled all day and we’ve got two more rounds ahead of us to have some fun. I know everyone is excited and hungry to get back out on the course in the morning.”
No. 14 Alabama took the early lead with an impressive 10-under-par 278. No. 7 Florida is just a stroke behind at 9-under par.
Alabama was fueled by an amazing performance from Benedetta Moresco, who leads the 72-player field after a first-round 63. She has a three-shot lead.
The second round will get underway at 10 a.m. ET. UK will tee off No. 1. Live scoring will continue to be available at Golfstat.com.
Castle continued to give herself birdie opportunities and rolled in six of them Monday. The only thing that prevented her from going lower were five bogeys, four of which came on her second nine. Although those bogeys knocked her out of the top 10, they couldn’t prevent yet another round of par or better.
Monday’s 71 marks Castle’s sixth round of par or better this fall season, all having come in the last seven opportunities. The 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion entered the tournament with a team-best 71.2 stroke average.
Svejgård Nielsen notched her first round of par or better in the first round and the 20th of her collegiate career. The 2021 Southeastern Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year answered adversity Monday when she went par, double bogey, bogey to open the tournament after failing to make the lineup in Kentucky’s last event.
The most experienced player on the UK roster answered admirably. Svejgård Nielsen would record nothing by birdies and pars the rest of the day, rolling in four of the former.
Sophomore Laney Frye flirted with an under-par day with four birdies on her scorecard but finished with a 1-over-par 73. She got back to even par late in the round with a birdie on the par-4 fourth hole (the Wildcats started on the back nine) but bogeyed No. 6. Frye is tied for 33rd.
One shot behind Frye is junior María Villanueva Aperribay. She got to even par with three holes left to play but bogeyed the final two to wind up at 2-over par, tied for 41st. Villanueva Aperribay has not shot above 218 over 54 holes this season, and even with Monday’s 74, four of her last six rounds have been par or better.
Junior Marissa Wenzler posted a 4-over-par 76 and is tied for 52nd. It would be unwise for the rest of the field to count Wenzler out after she posted a 69 and a 71 in the first and third rounds at the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational just a week and a half ago.
Playing as an individual, freshman Marta López Echevarría is tied for 68th after an 8-over-par 80. She settled down and carded a 38 on her second nine after a rough opening nine.
This week’s field features 12 teams, 11 of which are from the SEC and five of which are ranked in the top 15 of the first Golfstat rankings of the season. Those are the only five teams ahead of UK after the first round of The Ally.
Old Waverly was founded in 1988 and has since become one of the most highly regarded private courses in the country thanks to its stunning backdrops and scenery. The course was designed by the award-winning duo of Bob Cupp and Jerry Pate, the ladder of which is a former U.S. Open Champion. This club is regularly seen in Golfweek’s Top 100 and Golf Digest’s Top 100 and was the former site of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship in 2019.
This is Kentucky’s second straight appearance in The Ally. UK finished 12th a season ago.
It also marks the Wildcats’ final tournament of the 2021 fall season. Kentucky is coming off back-to-back top-five finishes for the first time since the 2019-20 season.
– GO CATS –
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