Stephen Powers, and his coach Jessie Mudd, carried the colours for the University of Kentucky Wildcats during the University of South Florida Invitational at Lake Jovita, Florida.

Big name, big game

University of Kentucky junior towers over the competition at Lake Jovita, figuratively and literally

DADE CITY, FL — Listed at 6 foot 6 inches and sporting a 300-yard drive, it’s rather fitting that his name is Stephen Powers.

A third-year Junior out of the University of Kentucky, Powers has slowly solidified himself as one of the best golfers on his team, and he still has over a year left in his tenure as a Wildcat.

Just as he’s focusing on perfecting his craft, he’s equally as concentrated on being a mentor.

“I like to take a leadership role as well,” said Powers. “Now I feel like I’ve been playing a bit better, and hopefully that’s taken point with my teammates”.

It seems so. After the first round of the University of South Florida Invitational golf tournament, Powers was sitting atop the leader board at -4 under par.

The three-day tournament is the second of the Wildcat’s season, and represents a shot at redemption after a poor showing at the Mobile Bay Intercontinental where he finished 68th overall.

Powers attributed the sharp turnaround in his game to Kentucky head coach, Brian Craig.

“He’s definitely been an influence. He’s a great coach, he’s always supportive,” said Powers. “I think he just knows a lot about golf, he knows what he doing. He’s a family oriented guy, very respected, and I think everyone buys into it because he knows so much about the game”.

Hired 12 years ago, Craig has been the catalyst behind Kentucky’s resurgence and has coached his teams to four NCAA Championship appearances. For context, the Wildcats have only seven championship appearances in school history.

Powers, the Illinois native, grew up a hockey-player and narrowly missed out on a chance to play golf. As much as the Kentucky golfer has progressed, he’s only been golfing for eight years.

Yet to reach his ceiling, the potential for the junior Wildcat is scary given his late introduction to the sport, and what he’s yet to learn.

And he doesn’t intend to slow down anytime soon.

“I definitely want to turn professional. I have a year and a half left but I think I can keep going and tap that potential. I want to compete at a pro level; I think it’d be a great test for me.”

But for now, the Kentucky standout is focusing on the present and constantly looking for ways to help his team win.

Powers is a dedicated, talented, and intelligent golfer. Given his skill-set and his disposition towards both golf and life, it’s certainly possible that this young man can make a significant impact on the PGA in the years to come.