STILLWATER, Okla. – Sunday’s final round of the NCAA Championship will look eerily similar for the Kentucky men’s golf team, resembling its final regular-season event of the year and last week’s NCAA Bryan Regional. UK will have some work to do if it wants to extend its season, manageable work, however.
Kentucky sits a mere four shots off the current pace for a coveted top-15 spot to earn a fourth day of stroke play with 18 holes to go on Sunday. UK concluded the day in 20th place at 13-over par through two days in the tournament and is four strokes back of four teams tied for 13th.
The Wildcats faced a six-shot deficit at the Gary Koch Invitational, their final regular-season event of the year. Kentucky ended up rallying and winning the tournament by four strokes over Auburn. UK needed to overcome 10 shots at the NCAA Regional on the last day of play to earn its slot in the NCAA Championship and edged Ole Miss by two shots to punch its ticket.
“Karsten Creek got the best of us today, but what a rally over the last few holes for our boys,” UK head coach Brian Craig said. “We got off to a tough start but I am so proud of the grit they showed. Tomorrow is a new day and we will need a solid round to make the 54-hole cut. This team is definitely capable of something special and I can guarantee you we will give it our best shot.”
After an up-and-down opening round, senior Chip McDaniel answered in a big way on Saturday. The senior from Manchester, Kentucky, carded an even-par 72 to lead all Wildcats. Juniors Fred Allen Meyer and Lukas Euler notched rounds of 2-over pars to aid the UK cause.
McDaniel began action on the back nine and played at 1-under par with birdies on the par-five 14th and the par-five 18th. Bogeys on two of his first four holes after the turn put him at 1-over par heading into the final stretch. Last week’s hero steadied his play and pared the next four holes before capping his round with a red number on his version of the 18th at the par-five ninth. He played the par fives at 3-under par on Saturday. McDaniel is tied for 89th at 6-over par for the tournament.
Euler and Meyer matched each other’s scores for the second day in a row with a 2-over-par 74. The duo tied for 77th overall with 5-over scores for the tournament. Euler’s round included consecutive birdies over his final two holes of play to take some momentum into Sunday’s round. Meyer mirrored his play over his final nine holes of action from day one, playing at 1-under par on the back nine.
Senior Cooper Musselman is tied for 68th and leads all UK players at 4-over par for the tournament. Freshman Max Mehles concluded the day tied for 77th and is tied with Euler and Meyer at 5-over par.