UK heads to the NCAA Championships

Through the constant rainstorms, heavy winds, and the challenging tests of Pete Dye's Kampen Course in West Lafayette (IN), it turned out to be an almost perfect weekend for Kentucky. <br><br> Coach Craig and his group of young golfers met the media on Tuesday at the University Club in Lexington. The group began there preparations for the NCAA Championships next week in Hot Springs, Virginia.

The sixth-seeded Wildcats won the NCAA Central Regional Championship May 22, finishing off a strong three-day performance with an 11-over-par 299. Kentucky's three-day total (298-285-299--882) was good enough for an 11-stroke win over top-seeded Oklahoma State (287-298-308--893).

"We went toe-to-toe with a great team and outplayed them down the stretch," said Kentucky Coach Brian Craig.

"It just all kind of came together for us," said Craig. "It's been an amazing week for the Wildcats."

"Considering we were down a man, I wanted winning to be the target and the goal because if you think you're going to be around the bubble, you're probably going to end up around the bubble. But I never dreamed we'd win by this many shots, so to do that and play well is really an incredible thrill and it gives us a lot of confidence."

"I'm unbelievably proud of them."

Third-round play was delayed for about an hour due to lightning, but the early leaders, including Kentucky, were already in the clubhouse.

"Our goal was to come in and to qualify for nationals, but everybody started playing well coming in and I thought we had a chance to give it a run for it," said Holmes.

While the Wildcats, who were playing without sophomore Matt Kohn due to academic problems, captured the team title, Kentucky junior John Holmes finished at 2 under (73-70-71-214) to take individual honors. Holmes answered a bogey on the par-3 17th hole with a birdie on par-4 18th to get back to 2 under.

"It was great," Holmes said after winning his second individual title of the season. "The team played well and everybody came together at the right time."

Not to be overshadowed was the exceptional tournament by Junior Brandon Waldrop.

"Brandon Waldrop played the best out of the group. He really stepped up, took charge and led this team to victory," Holmes said.

"I was really impressed with the poise of Brandon Waldrop throughout the tournament," Craig said. "I couldn't be happier about the step he took to play some incredible golf. His maturity and confidence was unbelievable.

And now it's on to the big stage.

"Holmes, Waldrop and Wells played special golf, which was fun to see and well deserving with their effort this year and all the work they have put in."

"Mark Blakefield and Tyler Wilson also played some great golf for us and gave us the lift we needed," Craig said. "It was a great week and now we need to prepare for The Homestead and get ready to win a national championship.

"We will see if we can bring home another title."

AllWildcats Top Stories