After a fairly long "off-season", comprised of November through mid-February, the UGA golf teams are back on the fairways and back in competition.
UGA Men's Golf
Men's Coach Chris Haack has his boys situated well for the spring. Coming off a 3rd place national finish in 2015, they're looking to repeat a trip to the NCAAs in May and currently ranked 10th in Division I. In case you don't know, Coach Haack is a recent inductee of the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, with some serious cred in collegiate golf circles (2 natty's, 7 SECs). His current squad is anchored by seniors Lee McCoy and Sepp Straka, and they serve as co-captains. McCoy is the more decorated of the two, including a 2015 All-American, tying and beating several school records, and even making the cut in a PGA Tour event. Straka has been a stalwart for the Bulldogs, as he redshirted his sophomore season and has a lot of collegiate experience. The Lowndes County native did make the match play portion of the US Amateur last year, and is accomplished in his own right.
The rest of the team is made up of Juniors Greyson Sigg and Jaime Lopez Rivarola, Sophomore Zach Healy, Red Shirt Freshmen Matthew Beringer (Hello, Macon!) and Jack Larkin, Jr., and Freshmen Tye Waller** and David Mackey. In normal collegiate play, 5 players will compete but only the best four scores will count each day. As of now, McCoy, Straka, Sigg, and Rivarola are the mainstays, while Larkin and Healy swap around for the fifth spot.
Georgia just finished its first spring tourney, and fared well in the Puerto Rico Classic. A disappointing start Sunday showed a tally of 283, good for 5th place. But a cumulative 8 under par 280 Monday vaulted the Dawgs to 2nd, just a stroke shy of first place Alabama (who is good). Alas, 'Bama rolled on the final Tuesday round, while Georgia shot 1 under 287, and finished third. Bama has won their last three straight tourneys, and the #13 ranking will improve. I expect UGA to stay at #10.
Next up for Haack's hacks, UGA travels to Mexico at the end of February for the Querencia Cabo Intercollegiate.
UGA Women's Golf
The Lady Dawgs have some good tradition of their own, and third year Coach Josh Brewer has made strides in returning UGA to the top of women's golf programs. Currently 5th in the nation, Brewer has these golfers trending in the right direction; a win at the recent Lady Puerto Rico Classic along with 2 wins last fall and nothing worse than 5th show they belong.
Unlike the senior-led Men's team, Brewer has brought in a talented Freshman class. And so far, that plan is paying off. Frosh Bailey Tardy leads the team in scoring average, and fellow freshmen Rinko Mitsunga and Jillian Hollis are all contributing each match. Rounding out the 5 are Juniors Harang Lee and Senior Marcela Carbajo Re'. The team gets contributions from seniors Sylvie Birch and Isabel Silva Zamura, juniors Sammi Lee and Mary Ellen Shuman, and sophomore Isabella Skinner.
Georgia sits behind Southern Cal, Duke, UCLA and Arkansas in the national rankings, and those gals are perennial powers. Lee ranks 5th individually in Division I, and Tardy is not far behind at #7.
The team next plays March 4-6 at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate on Hilton Head.
Two storied teams that are currently living up to expectations - we are talking about Georgia, right? Damn straight we are. GO 'DAWGS!!!
**Tye Waller? A resemblance to Ty Webb, perchance? Well, he's got the name going for him... (in unison please)