Written by UK Staff
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Fresh off a team championship at the Minnesota Invitational last week in the first tournament of the season, three Kentucky women’s golfers will be in action Monday and Tuesday at the MSU Greenbrier Invitational.
Senior Josephine Chang and sophomores Ryan Bender and Casey Ott will compete this week as individuals at Morehead State’s second annual tournament at the Greenbrier Golf & Country Club in Lexington. Now-junior Rikke Svejgård Nielsen won the inaugural Greenbrier Invitational but she will not defend it this season.
This week will mark the 2019-20 debuts for the trio of Chang, Bender and Ott. They did not compete at last week’s tournament in Minnesota.
The Greenbrier will begin Monday with 36 holes, followed by the final round of 18 Tuesday. Admission is free for fans. Sunny to mostly sunny conditions are in the forecast for both days.
“We are excited to have Josephine, Ryan and Casey play this week,” UK head coach Golda Borst said. “It’s a great opportunity for them and I think the golf course will suit them as well. They have all prepared really well and I know they are ready to get after it and compete.”
The 2019 Greenbrier includes Austin Peay, Belmont, UIC, UK, Lipscomb, Morehead State, UNC Asheville, Northern Kentucky, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech.
Play will begin Monday at 9:15 a.m. with a shotgun start. The second round will immediately follow the first round. The third round Tuesday will also begin with a 9:15 a.m. shotgun start.
Live scoring will not be available for this week’s tournament but results will be posted after each round at UKathletics.com. Kentucky fans are also encouraged to follow the Wildcats on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for updates.
Greenbrier will play at 5,961 yards, a par 72.
Although this week will mark the start of the 2019-20 season for the UK trio, it’s an experienced group.
Chang is entering the final season of a career that’s already included 23 events and 62 rounds. Chang appeared in nine events last season and sported a 76.4 average. Her last appearance as an individual, in March at the Colonel Classic, she tied for second. She shot an even-par 216, including an 18-hole career low 67 in the second round.
Ott made an immediate and strong impact with the Wildcats a season ago as a freshman. The Conway, Arkansas, native appeared in 10 events and was one of UK’s best performers in the second half of the season. Ott placed in the top 10 a team-high two times in the spring, including tying for sixth at the Gold Rush Invitational.
Bender played in six events in her first collegiate season. The 2017 Kentucky High School Athletic Association state champion’s best performance came in her individual appearance at the Colonel Classic. There she tied for 38th.
Ott and Bender both tied for 12th at the Kentucky Women’s Open over the summer in Frankfort.
Although Bender, Chang and Ott did not compete during last week’s team championship, the Wildcats are hoping to use the momentum during a busy start of the season. The championship at the Minnesota Invitational marked UK’s second in the last two seasons but first away from Lexington since September 2013. It was also the fifth team tournament win of the 10-year Borst era.
A team championship won’t be in the cards this week since the Kentucky trio is competing as individuals only, but the Wildcats are trying to continue a recent trend of individual success as well. UK won four individual tournament titles a season ago.
Three of those were by departed senior Leonie Bettel, but the fourth took place at last season’s MSU Greenbrier Championship. Svejgård Nielsen dominated the field with an 11-shot victory. She carded a 1-under-par 215, led by a 70 in the second round.
This week’s event marks the second of five fall events for the Wildcats.