CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Led by a pair of 18-hole career lows from sophomore Laney Frye and junior Marissa Wenzler, the Kentucky women’s golf team carded a top-10 round in program history and asserted itself in a challenging field on day one of the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational.
Fueled by Frye’s 4-under-par 68 and Wenzler’s 3-under-par 69, the Wildcats shot a 4-under-par 284 in Friday’s opener at the UNC Finley Golf Course (par 72, 6,393 yards) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
With the eighth-best round in school history, UK is just two shots off the lead heading into Saturday’s second round. Frye and Wenzler also find themselves squarely in the mix on the individual leaderboard with Frye tied for second and Wenzler in a logjam for fourth place.
Virginia Tech sits atop the 19-team field at 6-under par with No. 11 Wake Forest just a shot behind. Duke’s Erica Shepherd leads all competitors with a score of 6-under par.
“We had a solid start today,” UK head coach Golda Borst said. “We still have a few things we need to clean up and we can definitely play the par 5s better. But, we have put ourselves in a good position and I’m very proud of the composure and focus that we played with throughout the day.”
Saturday’s second round will tee off at 8: 30 a.m. Kentucky will tee off among the leaders off No. 1 at 10: 20 a.m. Live scoring will continue to be available throughout the weekend at Golfstat.com.
In a field that features four teams ranked in the latest Women’s Golf Coaches Association top 15, Kentucky has positioned well for the second straight tournament. The Wildcats are coming off a fourth-place finish at last month’s Mason Rudolph Championship that included the third-best 54-hole total in program history and the best in opposing history.
After the start at this weekend’s Tar Heel Invitational, the Wildcats could set another low mark.
Frye came roaring out of the gates. After a bogey on her third hole of the day, she birdied four straight holes to get to 3-under par before even making the turn. After a bogey on No. 17 (the Wildcats started on the back nine), she got the stroke back with a birdie on No. 3 and then another one on No. 4 to get to 4-under par.
From there, Frye cruised the rest of the way with five straight pars for a new career low. After breaking 70 for the first time in a college tournament at the last tournament with a career-best 69, Frye wasted little time in setting a new watermark low.
Wenzler tied her low mark with a 3-under-par 69, her best score in a collegiate event since her freshman season. The junior’s scorecard was nearly perfect with four birdies and just one bogey – which came on her final hole of the day.
Like Frye, Wenzler played well on the opening nine with three birdies and six pars for a 33.
If Kentucky is going to make a push for the team title this weekend, junior Jensen Castle could have a big say. The 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion carded a 1-over-par 73 and has routinely shown she can go much lower, most recently firing a 6-under-par 66 in the first round of last month’s Mason Rudolph Championship.
After playing last week in the Cognizant Founders Cup, one of the top tournaments on the LPGA Tour, after a special exemption, Castle was solid Friday with two birdies and just one bogey and a double bogey. She is tied for 39th
Junior María Villanueva Aperribay is tied for 53rd at 2-over par. She posted a 36 on the first nine and had two more birdies on the front nine but was undone in the second half of her round by four bogeys over a seven-hole stretch.
Freshman Marta López Echevarría made her college debut Friday and carded an 82, 10-over par. The former member of the Spain’s girls’ national team is tied for 91st.
The Tar Heel Invitational was a mainstay on the schedule for the Wildcats in the past, with Kentucky having won twice in 1983 and 1989. However, UK has only participated twice in the last five tournaments, in 2015 and 2019.
For the latest on the Kentucky women’s golf team, follow the team on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as on the web at
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