CARMEL, IND.--Less than 24 hours after being knocked out of the second round of the U.S. Women's Amateur at Crooked Stick GC, Mallory Blackwelder can look on the bright side. The rising college junior who was attempting to transfer from Florida to Kentucky to play for her mother, Myra, the Wildcats' newly named women's coach, finally got approval Friday from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) to be able to play for UK starting this fall.
SEC rules require student-athletes transferring between schools within the conference to sit out a year of competition. The Blackwelders, through Kentucky's compliance department, had requested a wavier of the rule based on the fact Mallory was transferring to play for her mother, a former LPGA golfer who has been her coach throughout her life. Florida women's coach Jill Briles-Hinton had even given Mallory her full release.
Earlier this summer, the SEC had denied the Blackwelders' request for the wavier of the transfer rule, so the school had filed an appeal of that decision. Earlier this week Mallory, who won the Western Amateur this summer and finished runner-up at the Trans-National Amateur, said she had no idea exactly when she would hear back on the appeal, but hoped it would be prior to the start of the season in September. If the appeal was denied, Mallory said she would still transfer to Kentucky and redshirt during the 2007-08.
Perhaps it wasn't a coincidence that Golf Channel commentators Steve Melnyk and Dottie Pepper were critical of the conference during the U.S. Women's Amateur telecast yesterday, where Blackwelder's match against Marci Turner got airtime. At any rate, a formal press release on the matter is expected for this afternoon.