Kentucky won by 4 shots at Gaston CC (UK photo)
GASTONIA, NC (April 11, 2018) – Winners of its first three tournaments of the season, the Kentucky men's golf team concluded the regular season in stylish fashion with a come-from-behind win at the Gary Koch Invitational on Tuesday edging No. 11 Auburn by four strokes.
The Wildcats trailed the Tigers by six shots heading into the final day and responded by shooting a combined 14-under-par, 274, to earn the trophy. Kentucky turned in its second-lowest round of the season and the third lowest under head coach Brian Craig to cap the regular-season and take momentum into postseason play beginning at the Southeastern Conference Championship later this month.
Senior Chip McDaniel led every UK starter in the top 25 on the individual leaderboard with a runner-up finish, while freshman Max Mehles and junior Fred Allen Meyer scored the best finishes of their careers to help propel the Cats to victory. Mehles tied for third and Meyer carded a tie for sixth.
"I am so proud of these young men," Craig said. "What a fabulous final round we played today to come from behind and beat a terrific Auburn team. And, how about Chip McDaniel? He led the way with three phenomenal rounds of golf. That was simply a joy to watch. They all played well and contributed, but Chip was spectacular. We will enjoy this for a day and then get back to work to prepare for the SEC Championship."
For the second time in Craig's 17-year tenure, the Wildcats have 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.
Three players – McDaniel, Mehles and Meyer – all birdied the par-five 18th to put the exclamation point on a round, tournament and the 2017-18 regular season.
UK finished the tournament at 35-under par, while Auburn charted a 31-under score. Ole Miss finished third at 11 under. Florida State was fourth (-6) and Virginia rounded out the top five at even par.
Auburn's Trace Crowe wins Individual Title
Following up his record-tying performance on the opening day of the Gary Koch Invitational, Auburn junior Trace Crowe sealed the top spot and earned medalist honors for the third time in his career with a 4-under 68 to finish the tournament 16-under (69-63-68--200).
“I’m extremely happy for Trace as he captured his third win of his collegiate career,” head coach Nick Clinard said. “He drove the ball beautifully and did a nice job managing his emotions and competing this week. He's a talented young man that we have high expectations for.”
Crowe's second-round 63 was tied for the lowest 18-hole score in Auburn history.
Crowe tied for the team lead with five birdies in his final round at Gaston Country Club, including three on the front nine.
ABOUT THE Gary Koch Invitational
A 54-hole men's college tournament hosted by the
University of Kentucky. Team (best four scores out
five players each round) and individual competitions.
View Complete Tournament Information