McDaniel places 2nd in SEC Championship


Kentucky during the second round of the Southeastern Conference Championship at Sea Island Golf Club’s Seaside Course in St. Simons Island, Ga., on Saturday, April 16, 2016. (Photo by Steven Colquitt)

John Morgan Francis

The star of the weekend for the UK men’s golf team was the same over the whole season: Tyler “Chip” McDaniel. The sophomore carded 68, 72, and a final round of -1 under 69 to shoot a total of 209 (-1) for runner-up in the SEC Championship.

McDaniel’s second-place finish is the best by a UK golfer and best for a sophomore since David Snyder tied for fifth in 2014. With one of the youngest rosters in the field, the Cats as a whole finished in 7th place with a total of 868.

“We are super disappointed, but this experience will pay dividends for this team going forward,” head coach Brian Craig said. “We took a huge step forward this week, and I am so proud of the guys for their effort and attitude.”

McDaniel couldn’t have played much better this week. In just his second start in the SEC Championship, his play resembled one of a veteran, scoring two of his three rounds under par and finishing just two strokes behind SEC Champion Lee McCoy of Georgia.

By finishing as runner-up, McDaniel tallied his sixth top-10 finish of the year and fifth top-five. His 17 rounds under-par this season dominantly lead the team.

Starting out his final round, McDaniel took stride with birdies on holes four and five. From there McDaniel played very consistently, with just one bogey coming on hole 16.

Teammates Stephen Stallings and Cooper Musselman also shined bright this weekend, both finishing in a tie for 25th place. Both were neck-and-neck with McDaniel after Saturday, but the course played more difficult for them Sunday as they both shot +8 over par to score 219 a piece for the tournament.

Snyder, a senior, played in his final SEC Championship this weekend, finishing in a tie for 32nd. Only +4 after Saturday, he too struggled to find birdies on Sunday and fired a +7 over par to total 221 for the three days.

The fifth man for the Cats was Jalen Ledger. The freshman was only +2 after Friday’s round, but he couldn’t capitalize on his field position and posted back-to-back +10 over pars on Saturday and Sunday to finish in a tie for 69th place with a score of 232.

Georgia captured the title with a +13 over par finish. It was followed by Texas A&M (+16) in second place and Florida and Arkansas, both of which tied for third place with scores of 861 (+21) to round out the top three.

Tune in to SEC Network 1 p.m. Sunday, April 24th to catch the one-hour review show of the 2016 SEC Men’s Golf Championship.