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Meet the team: UK men’s golf

A member of the Kentucky men’s golf team walks the course during the 2024 Mason Rudolph Championship tournament at Vanderbilt Legends-South Golf Course in Franklin, Tennessee. UK finished ninth. Photo provided by UK Athletics

Kentucky men’s golf is preparing to take the fairways at Sea Island Golf Club’s Seaside Course in St. Simmons Island, Georgia, for the SEC Championships from April 24-28.

In a year that featured an all-new coaching staff and two brand-new freshmen after saying goodbye to Dhaivat Pandya and Garrett Wood last season as well as former head coach Brian Craig, the Cats struggled, with their best finish being a fourth place finish at the Steelwood Collegiate Invitational.

Looking to get a fresh start in the postseason, with dreams of an NCAA appearance still alive and well, there are plenty of golfers who will seek to finish under par and lead the Cats to victory.

Meet the team:

Wesley Beard:

Year: Freshman

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky

Highschool: St. Xavier High School

About: The first of the freshmen, Beard graduated with three varsity letters that he acquired while at St. Xavier.

He was selected three times for All-Region for his demonstration of his exceptional performance and talent during his youth golf career. He also clinched the Marty Donlon Award back in 2022 and finished in the top 25 for the American Junior Golf Association four times.

Michael Hake:

Year: Freshman

Hometown: Brentwood, Tennessee

Highschool: Ravenwood High School

About: Hake was ranked in the top 300 of all golfers internationally and 150th in his graduating class in the state of Tennessee on the Junior Golf Scoreboard.

He took home four victories at the Sneds Tour in 2022 and was also the winner of the U.S. Junior Qualifier, placed top ten in the TSSAA State and was third on the podium at the Tennessee Junior Amateur.

He also participated in three Tennessee State Championships in his youth. Additionally, he won the John Mayer Builders Scholarship Award.

Oakley Gee:

Year: Redshirt Freshman

Hometown: Carmi, Illinois

Highschool: Carmi-White County High School

About: Gee was No. 1 on the Junior Golf Scoreboard in the state of Illinois in 2022 and was inside the top 50 overall in his 2022 class.

Gee qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur after being an alternate in 2018 and 2019. He won the GolfWeek Junior Tour twice and achieved the second-lowest score in tour history with a 63.

He placed sixth in the IHSA State final after coming second in regionals and, impressively, Gee also tied his high school’s nine-hole match record with a score of 30.

During his first year on the UK golf team, Gee competed in one tournament as an individual and tied for 59th at the Island Resort Collegiate.

Solomon Petrie:

Year: Redshirt Freshman

Hometown: Akron, Ohio

Highschool: Archbishop Hoban High School

About: Petrie is ranked 33rd overall internationally in the American Junior Golf Association rankings.

Petrie was a 2021 AJGA Rolex Junior All-American selection and placed top three in three of those AJGA events. In 2017 he clinched a U.S. Kids Golf World Championship and was part of the USKG Van Horn Cup team.

Moreover, he was the 2020 AJGA Imperial Headwear Junior Classic champion as well as a two-time All-Ohio First Team selection with an All-Ohio Second Team honor.

Petrie still holds the 18-hole school record at the Portage Country Club in the Hoban Invitational with an eight-under-par 62. In high school, he had a season average of 71.

Perhaps the most awe-inspiring of all of his stats is that he is a 17-time high school medalist with seven medal honors just as a senior. In 2020 he was awarded Akron Beacon Journal Player of the Year. He did not compete in any tournaments during his freshman year with Kentucky.

Andrew Clark:

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Winter Park, Florida

Highschool: Winter Park High School

About: In high school, Clark led his school to a state title when he was just a sophomore.

He placed second at the Metro Conference Tournament and secured a third-place showing, coming second. Before his senior season, Clark tied down the Next 100 Junior Invitational Title in a playoff.

He was named an All-Area player and finished fourth at districts and regionals as a junior. He did not compete in any events as a freshman, but competed in six when he came back for his redshirt season with the Wildcats.

He posted a 75.78 scoring average with six par-or-better rounds and 4.8 rounds counting toward the team tally. His career-best was a tie of 71 points in both the second and third rounds at the Bearcat Invitational.

Kevin Watts:

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Colleyville, Texas

Highschool: Colleyville High School

About: Watts was a 2021 Texas Junior Amateur Championship runner-up and a 2021 STPGA PGA Boys runner-up when he was in high school.

He had a career-best tournament score of 66 when he won the AJGA Bob Estes Preview. He also became runner-up at the 2019 Legends Tour Texas Junior Alliance and the 2018 Texas State High School 5A.

He was quite the champion in high school, having won the AJGA Bob Estes Preview and the 2020 Legends Tour Texas Junior Alliance.

During his Freshman season with the Wildcats, he teed up in 10 events with a 74.13 scoring average. He opened his season with a tie for 28th at four-over-par at the Island Resort Intercollegiate competing as an individual. He opened with a tie for his career-best-six-under 66 after tying 45th at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate.

Jansen Preston:

Year: Junior

Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky

Highschool: Lexington Christian Academy

About: Preston was a three-time Kentucky high school individual champion and Kentucky’s second-ranked player.

He was the 2019 Kentucky Junior Amateur champion, a three-time all-state selection and the 2017 Kentucky Player of the Year. He also managed to snag the state title in 2017.

He started as a freshman, redshirt freshman and sophomore playing at Vanderbilt, where he recorded a 75.17 scoring average as a freshman. Also, as a freshman, he finished fourth at the New Year’s Invitational at two-over-par.

As a sophomore, he competed in two tournaments and lowered his scoring average by more than three to 72.8. He tied for 32nd at one-under-par at the Frederica Cup.

Campbell Kramer:

Year: Senior

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky

High School: St. Xavier High School

About: In high school, Kramer was a top-20 player in the class of 2020. He was a two-time all-state selection and won the 2016 state championship with his high school. He won a coaches award, the Ray Baer Memorial Award, and a Scholastic Student-Athlete Award as a junior and senior.

During his freshman year, he competed in three tournaments and started off his college career with an even-par 72. As a sophomore, he competed in nine events and made eight starts.

He logged his career-best scoring average of 72.89 and also had two top-20 finishes. At the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate, he tied for UK’s best finisher at 33rd.

When he was a junior, Kramer competed in 10 events and recorded a 73.67 scoring average. He was third best on the team with eight par-or-better rounds and 24.3 counted rounds. He tied for 23rd in SEC match play, carding one-under 69 in the opening round and clinched a career-best four-under 66 in the final round.

Tanner Parks:

Year: Senior

Hometown: Campbellsville, Kentucky

High School: Taylor County High School

About: Parks was a member of the 2018 KHSAA State Champion team in high school. He was a four-time member of the all-region team and a Golf House Junior Tour Championship winner.

He did not compete with the Wildcats in his first two years as a freshman and a redshirt freshman. He made his collegiate debut as a sophomore at the Island Resort Collegiate, where he tied 48th overall as an individual. He played one-over par in his opening round.

As a junior, he appeared in three events and posted an 81.56 stroke average.

Jackson LaLonde:

Year: Fifth-Year Senior

Hometown: Lexington, KY

High School: Lexington Christian Academy

About: LaLonde helped lead his high school to a team championship. He was named the 2017 11th Region Player of the Year and was a five-tournament champion as a high school student. He won the 11th Region Championship in 2017 and the 2017 Golfweek Junior Tour at Rio Pinar. 

During his freshman campaign with Kentucky, he appeared in two events placing 48th and 62nd. As a sophomore he appeared in three events, with his highest placement being a tie for 58th at the Kiawah Invitational.

In total, he participated in eight events as a junior and senior. During his junior year campaign, he was selected as an alternate for the NCAA Columbus Regional squad. He tied for 31st at the Island Resort Intercollegiate.

He posted his career-best stroke average of 75.83 as a senior and carded a career-low-under-par 68 at the Bearcat Invitational.

Cooper Parks:

Year: Graduate Student

Hometown: Campbellsville, Kentucky

High School: Taylor County High School

About: In 2018, Parks was named the state player of the year and led Taylor County High to a team championship.

He is a three-time regional champion, a three-time Kentucky First-Team All-State member, a five-time region player of the year and the 2017 Golf House Kentucky Junior Player of the Year. He also ranked among the top 100 of his 2019 class.

During his freshman year as a Wildcat, he had five starts and earned four par-or-better rounds. His first-ever competition opened with a top-20 finish at the Island Resort Intercollegiate. At the Bearcat Invitational, he tied for 35th and helped lead the Cats to a third-place finish.

As a sophomore, he saw the start of 7/8 competitions he participated in. He had a career-best round of 68 when opening the Kiawah Invitational. He placed 63rd in his first postseason appearance at the SEC Championship.

During his junior campaign, he only made one start and logged his career-best stroke average of 75.00. At the Old Town Collegiate Invitational, he played six-over par with rounds of 71-72-73. 

For his senior season, he competed in four events. During his return to the Island Resort Intercollegiate, he tied for 45th at nine-over and carded a season-low one-under-par 71.

Alex Goff:

Year: Graduate Student

Hometown: Kings Mountain, North Carolina

High School: Kings Mountain High School

About: In high school, Goff was an all-state golfer and four-time conference Player of the Year. He won the 3A West Regional Championship when he was just a freshman. In 2018 he was the NCHSAA 3A state runner-up and, by his senior season, he had a 68.5 stroke average.

During his freshman year with the Wildcats, he did not appear in any events. As a redshirt freshman, he started all six of the events he participated in. He ranked second on the Wildcats after finishing with a team-high four top-20 finishes and two top-10 finishes. At the Island Resort Intercollegiate, he scored a team-best tie for 10th place.

As a sophomore, Goff was the team’s number-one player with a career-low 72.21 stroke average and appeared in 10 events. His first career win was during his opener at the Blessings Collegiate Invitational and he followed that performance with a tie for third at the Legends Collegiate Invitational.

During his junior campaign, he started in all 10 events and played 29 total rounds where he produced four top-20 finishes. He acquired a season-low 54-hole total at the SEC Championship and had the best finish of 18th out of all the Wildcats that participated.

Goff started all 10 team events with Kentucky. He was a Second-Team All-SEC selection and the PING All-Southeast Region pick. He clinched the best scoring average on the UK men’s golf team since 1993 with a 70.73. He posted a top-20 finish in three of four fall tournaments.

He also tied for third at the Schenkel Invitational with a 210 54-hole total. Furthermore, he earned SEC Golfer of the Week Honors and finished second at the SEC Championship.

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