STILLWATER, Okla. – One of the most prolific seasons in Kentucky men’s golf history came to a close at the NCAA Championship in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on Sunday.
UK wrapped up in a tie for 21st overall on the team leaderboard after winning four tournaments during the regular season with two individual wins and a dramatic finish to advance to the NCAA Bryan Regional that pushed them into the final weekend of competition.
“These boys played their hearts out this week and this season,” UK head coach Brian Craig said. “We did not have our best stuff this week, but I am so proud of our efforts for the year. Four team wins and two individual victories is tremendous.
“Most importantly, I am going to miss our senior co-captains, Chip (McDaniel) and Cooper (Musselman). They are both brilliant golfers and even better young men. They have left a legacy that will always be remembered within the UK golf family. I can’t wait to follow their professional careers starting with the Barbasol PGA Tour event right here in Kentucky.”
Fittingly it was Chip McDaniel and Cooper Musselman who carded the best rounds of the day for the Wildcats. The duo combined for nearly 100 career starts, 130 par-or-better rounds, 25 top-10 finishes, 45 top 20-finishes, three appearances in the NCAA Regional and two appearances in the NCAA Championship.
McDaniel shot a 1-under par 71 on Sunday. It marked the 73rd round of his career to come in at par or better. He jumped out to a terrific start with birdies on two of the first three holes. He headed into the turn at even par, before picking up two more strokes on two of the first four holes of the back nine. He finished in a tie for 50th, the best finish of the tournament for the Wildcats. A win at the Bearcat Invitational and setting the second-lowest 54-hole total (201) in the Craig era highlighted his senior year.
Musselman posted a 4-over-par 76 on the final day of play and tied for 78th in the loaded field. He earned a career-low stroke average, a career-low round, a career-low 54-hole total and the most top-10 finishes of his career during his senior campaign. He also claimed the first individual win of his collegiate career during his senior season at the Crooked Stick Intercollegiate.
Junior Fred Allen Meyer notched a 77 on day three and finished in a tie for 89th. He opened play with a 1-under score over his first nine holes to highlight the final round of his season. Meyer put together the best year of his career with a career-low round, a career-low 54-hole total and the best finish of his career with a tie for sixth at UK’s final regular-season win at the Gary Koch Invitational.
Freshman Max Mehles tied for 107th, while junior Lukas Euler placed in a tie for 123rd. Euler paced the Wildcats in stroke average for much of the season and had eight top-20 finishes. Mehles enjoyed a breakout spring campaign where he had a trio of top-10 finishes, including a tie for third at the Gary Koch Invitational.
Kentucky closed its tournament in a tie for 21st overall on the leaderboard, missing out on extending its season with an additional round of stroke play on Monday. The top 15 advanced to the fourth round with Monday’s 18 holes determining the final eight who will compete for the national championship.
Kentucky captured the team title in each of its first three events of the 2017-18 season, highlighted by McDaniel and Musselman, also winning individual titles. For only the second time in Craig’s 17-year tenure, the Wildcats captured four or more tournament titles in a single season. The 2004-05 season led by UK Athletics Hall of Famer and PGA Tour member J.B. Holmes earned six tournament victories, with five coming during the regular season.
When Kentucky won its three fall events it became just the second team under Craig to win three tournaments consecutively. The 2017-18 squad will also enter the records owning the score for the lowest single round and the lowest 54-hole tournament score following at the Bearcat Invitational.
T21 – Kentucky (292, 297, 303 – 892, +28)
T50– Chip McDaniel (78, 72, 71 – 221, +5)
T78 – Cooper Musselman (71, 77, 76- 224, +8)
T89 – Fred Allen Meyer (75, 74, 77 – 226, +10)
T107 – Max Mehles (71, 78, 79 – 228, +12)
T123 – Lukas Euler (75, 74, 81 – 230, +14)