Kentucky rests at seventh in UCF Challenge after even-par day two

Hunter Shelton

A second round on par with its first has pushed the UK women’s golf team up the leaderboard ahead of the third and final round of the UCF challenge in Orlando, Florida. 

The Wildcats shot a season-low even-par 288 on Monday, improving on their round one performance by one stroke. The performance moved them up two slots and into seventh place out of 17 teams in the challenge. 

“Today’s conditions were brutal,” Kentucky head coach Golda Borst said. “As a coach, I am very proud of what I saw in our team: discipline, commitment and courage.” 

María Villanueva Aperribay led the charge for the Cats on day two. After shooting a 1-over-par 73 in her first round of the season on Sunday, the sophomore pushed herself into individual medalist contention with a 3-under-par 69. The round is tied for the season-best by a Wildcat, sets her 18-hole collegiate low. She comes into round three tied for sixth place individually (-2). 

“María has been due for a low round,” Borst said about the Spaniard. “It’s great to see her put a whole round together, especially in these conditions.” 

Freshman Laney Frye made the day’s biggest improvement for the Cats. The Lexington Catholic graduate shot an even-par 72, a six-stroke improvement from her round one performance. Frye led the team in average scoring in the fall, notching the Cats’ only top-ten individual showing in the process, which she’ll look to channel on Tuesday’s final round.  

Marissa Wenzler provided another solid round with a 1-over-par 73, just two shots worse than her first-round score. She finds herself at even-par and tied for seventeenth in individually.  

Sophomore Jensen Castle carded a 2-over-par 74, while senior Rikke Svejgård Nielsen recorded a 3-over-par 75 to round things out for the Cats.  

While Kentucky improved on day one, its deficit from the top spot remains the same. But it’s no longer the Razorbacks occupying No. 1. That distinction belongs to Houston, who sits at the 15-under-par Arkansas rested at after day one. The opening round darlings imploded with a 14-over-par round two, sending them spiraling down the standings. The Cougars 7-under-par second round puts them just four strokes ahead of second place Wake Forest.  

Aperribay and Kentucky look to make one last push to the UCF Challenge’s peak position on Tuesday, when the event concludes with its final round. Action is set to begin at 8:00 a.m. E.T., with the Cats teeing off at approximately 9:40 a.m. E.T.