Kentucky womens golf opens spring season with fifth place finish in Orlando, Florida


Kentuckys womens golf opened its spring season at the UCF Challenge at Eagle Creek Golf Club in Orlando, Florida, on Feb. 5, 2023. Darren Carroll | USGA

Aaron Benjamin, Reporter

Kentucky womens golf wrapped up its first tournament of the spring season on Tuesday afternoon, finishing the three-day event with a fifth place win and an overall score of 844.

The event, hosted by the University of Central Florida, was held at the Eagle Creek Golf Club in Orlando, Florida, and saw Kentucky shoot twenty under par on each day of the tournament.

On Sunday, the Cats kicked off their participation in the challenge, finishing eighth overall in the team standings with a score of 283 and five below par.

Individually, graduate student Ivy Shepherd and junior Laney Frye both shot a 69 in the first round, three under par.

Senior Marissa Wenzler shot a 70, which put her T-22 and two under par.

Sophomore Maria López Echevarría shot a 75, placing her tied at 76th place while also shooting three over par on the round.

Senior golfer Maria Villanueva Aperribay finished the beginning round four over par, shooting 76, putting her T-84.

On the second day, the Wildcats got back out on the greens and by the end of the day, the team would sit at sixth in the standings, a two-spot increase from the previous day.

Shepherd and Frye would stay together, this time in a tie for 13th, matching their scores of 69 they recorded on the first day. Wenzler went on to shoot a 71, one back from the 70 she shot in the first round.

Aperribay improved to T39 by shooting eight fewer strokes than the previous day. She would see her score as an E for even after the second day.

Echevarria would round up the second round for the blue and white with a 74, placing her T79.

On the third and final day, the Wildcats started out to finish their solid run and use their momentum gained in the first two days to push through the third.

Kentucky’s fifth place win and 844 overall score marked the team’s second-best tournament total in its past five events this season and the third-best tournament total in program history.

Frye would enter the top 10, placing T9 on the challenge. The graduate student Shepherd saw herself tied for eleventh. Wenzler would finish T26.

Aperribay finished T45, shooting a 73, while Echevarria would shoot a 74 and finish with an overall score of 223.

This weekend, the team will travel to Palos Verdes, California to compete in the Therese Hession Regional Challenge presented by Northrop Grumman. The event will last three days, from Sunday, Feb. 12, through Tuesday, Feb. 14.