UK men’s golf fails to qualify for NCAA match play, finishes 13th among the field

Senior David Snyder led UK with a 72 in his final round for the Wildcats. (UK Athletics/Ryan Frazer) 

Senior David Snyder led UK with a 72 in his final round for the Wildcats. (UK Athletics/Ryan Frazer) 

Anthony Crawford

The UK men’s golf team’s season came to a close Monday, but not before the Cats cemented themselves as one of the top programs in the nation with a top-15 finish in the NCAA Tournament in Eugene, Oregon.

UK stormed through the tournament and set itself apart thanks to an even-par performance of 70 from senior David Snyder on the opening round last Friday.

While Snyder’s strong play led the Cats in the opening round, it was the steady play of sophomore Cooper Musselman and junior Stephen Stalling that tallied 1-over par rounds of 71 to help the team gain three strokes on the field to move into a tie for 15th place. 

The strong second round showing put UK in a great position in the final round on Sunday to be on of 15 teams to move on to Monday’s qualifying round for match play. The Cats were able to take advantage in the do-or-die situation finishing 11th overall after 54 totals holes. Musselman again led the Cats, this time with an even-par score of 70.

The team’s bid to advance to match play fell short however, as only the top eight team moved  on to match play and UK was only able to secure a 13th place finish. Snyder led UK in his last performance for the Cats with a round of 72.

The Cats should be nothing but proud of their efforts as the non-tournament team of last year was able to complete a major turning around finishing this season as one of the best teams in the nation.

The 13th place finish is UK’s highest since 2006 when it finished fifth in the field. The NCAA appearance was UK’s sixth under head coach Brian Craig.

“We played our hearts out this week and I could not be prouder of these boys. This has to be the most improved team in the nation and that is quite satisfying. We will miss our team captain, David Snyder,” Craig said. “He was a terrific leader for his teammates this year. And how about Chip (Tyler “Chip” McDaniel), Coop (Musselman) and Stephen (Stallings) this year? Those boys got better and did a fantastic job. I already can’t wait to coach this entire team again next year. The future is really bright for this group of guys and I am privileged to be a part of it.”