LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Kentucky men’s golf team hits the road for SEC match play Sunday through Tuesday at Old Overton Club in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. The event marks the first year of tournament transitions since the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, which has been held for the past 35 seasons.
The SEC’s 14 schools will compete on 54 holes in stroke play, including 36 on Sunday and 18 on Monday, with match play taking place Tuesday on the 7,204-yard par-70 course. The top two teams in stroke play will face off in the day’s final groups, while the other 12 teams will compete in the East vs. West Match Play format.
The Wildcats will use a starting lineup consisting of Alex Goff, Dhaivat Pandya, Garrett Wood, Campbell Kremer and Kevin Watts.
“The SEC Fall Match Play is an elite amateur and collegiate event,” said UK head coach Brian Craig. “This year’s format will test both stroke and match play. Ultimately, this is a great opportunity for our team. Simply put, we have to bring it this week.
SEC Match Play marks the third of four fall tournaments for the Wildcats. The UK will conclude its fall program at Hamptons Intercollegiate on October 3-4 in East Hampton, New York.
Tournament history: This year marks the first year of SEC Match Play. Kentucky competed in the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate a year ago, placing 14th.
The lesson: Old Overton Club, which opened in 1993, was designed by Tom Fazio and Jerry Pate and underwent a series of renovations in 2020. The 7,204-yard par-70 course is nestled in the wooded hills south of Birmingham.
Field: All 14 SEC teams will participate in the event. Of the teams from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt, 12 are ranked in the Bushnell/Golfweek Coaches Poll.
Last outing: The Cats finished ninth at the Bearcat Invitational last Sunday and Monday at Coldstream Country Club in Cincinnati. Alex Goff and Dhaivat Pandya finished the tournament tied for 14th place.
For the tournament, Kentucky is tied for second from the field with 48 birdies, while Goff is tied for second individually with 14. Pandya is tied for fourth from the field at par-4 with a score of 1 under par.
The numbers so far: Goff and Pandya lead the Wildcats with an average of 71.67, followed by Garrett Wood at 72.50. Goff owns two of the Wildcats’ five rounds in the 60s, with Wood’s 5-under 67 in the second round of the Island Resort Invitational marking the lowest round of the season in the UK.
Goff and Pandya pace Kentucky with four par or better laps, while Wood had his six laps counted in the team tally.
The cats return seven: The Wildcats are bringing back seven players from the 2021-22 roster. Combined, the returning players have earned four top-10 finishes, 11 top-20 finishes and three of the UK’s five starters from its South East Championship and NCAA regional team will return.
Wood, Goff, Kremer Highlight Returners: Wood, the British stroke average leader a year ago, highlights the returning core. He averaged 71.55 and amassed five top-20 finishes. Goff posted a 71.97 average with four top-20 finishes, while Kremer had two top-20 finishes and averaged 72.89 strokes.
Career Par-or-Better rounds (in 2022-23):
Garrett Woods – 41 (2)
Alex Goff – 38 (4)
Dhaivat Pandya – 24 (4)
Campbell Kremer – 15 (1)
Cooper Parks – 9 (1)
Andrew Clark – 3 (3)
Jackson LaLonde – 3 (1)
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