KLAGENFURT-SELTENHEIM, Austria – Senior-to-be Leonie Bettel had the look of someone ready to take the leadership reins of the Kentucky women’s golf program this weekend at the Austrian Ladies Open.
Bettel cruised to a wire-to-wire championship at the Austrian Ladies Open with a score of 5-under par. She won by three strokes with three of her four rounds in red numbers.
The Austrian native shot 69-71-69-74 at Golfclub Klagenfurt-Seltenheim and led by eight strokes heading into the final round. Bettel recorded 16 birdies over four rounds, including five each in the first and third rounds.
The championship should provide just the type of jumpstart Bettel hopes for as she enters her senior season at UK. With program mainstays Isabelle Johansson, Grace Rose and Ale Walker departing the program after stellar careers, Bettel will likely be looked to as the leader of the 2018-19 Kentucky team after a solid junior season at UK, her first in Lexington after transferring from NC State.
In 2017-18, Bettel tied for the best stroke average on the team with a 74.8 average. She led the Wildcats with four top-20 finishes and tied for the team lead with two top-10 showings. Playing in every event for the Wildcats in 2017-18, Bettel carded five rounds of par or better, tied for second on the team, and UK used 25 of her 28 rounds towards the team score.
As she showed this weekend at the Austrian Ladies Open, she’s got the ability to go low. She fired the lowest 18-hole round of Kentucky’s 2017-18 season with a 65 at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Bettel has experienced plenty of success in her home country as a member of the Austrian national golf team since 2012. Last year she led the Diamond Country Club to the Austrian Team Championship and she competed for Austria in the 2016 World Amateur Championship in Mexico. Prior to college, she guided Austria to third place at the European Girls Team Championship in Czech Republic. She was crowned the U18 champion at both the 2014 and 2015 Austrian Stroke Play tournaments, won the 2014 Austrian Match Play tournament in the U18 division, and was tabbed the U21 Austrian Player of the Year in 2014.
Bettel is far from the only Wildcat having a great summer.
Sarah Shipley, who will be a junior in 2018-19, finished in a tie for second among all amateurs and fourth overall last week at the Ohio Women’s Open with a two-round score of 142. Shipley’s 69 in the first round was tied for the second-best score among all players in the field.
Shipley enjoyed a breakout sophomore season, posting career bests in stroke average (75.3), 18-hole low (68), 54-hole low (219) and top-20 finishes (two). UK used all 17 of her scores towards the team total. Her 75.0 stroke average in the spring was the best on the team, and she was certainly playing the best golf down the stretch with a 13th-place finish at the Southeastern Conference Championship in Birmingham, Alabama.
Incoming freshman Casey Ott finished third with a combined two-round score of 144 at the Arkansas Junior Amateur Championship. Ott is a two-time Wendy’s Arkansas Golfer of the Year selection.
Earlier this month, a trio of Wildcats fared well at the Texas Women’s Open at the Rolling Hills Country Club in Arlington, Texas. Rose, who played in 37 events in her UK career with six top-20 tournament finishes and the 2017 Bettie Lou Evans Invitational championship, tied for 22nd in a field of amateurs and professionals with a score of 10-over par.
Junior-to-be Josephine Chang finished just behind Rose with a score of 11-over par, including an even-par 71 in the third and final round. Claire Carlin, who will be a senior in the fall, tied for 32nd at 13-over par.
Carlin appeared in a career-high eight events as a junior while Chang has seen action in 14 events in her first two seasons.
GO CATS –