Spring sports are coming to a head, and for the University of Georgia golf teams, that means the SEC Championships.
The Women’s team just finished up the SEC Tournament in Birmingham this past weekend. After entering as the No. 7 seed, Georgia came out hot in the opening round and moved to fifth place after day 1. A 2 under par 286 team score Thursday moved the Lady Bulldogs up to 4th place. Friday wasn’t as good, but Georgia still advanced to the match play format as the 5 seed.
The quarterfinals were Upset City, as Georgia defeated #4 Vanderbilt, and Ole Miss sent top-seeded Florida packing for Gainesville. Then bad weather moved in, and the UGA-Ole Miss semifinal was suspended with Ole Miss controlling the action. Easter Sunday gave the Dawgs some energy, but ultimately fell short and finishing 4th overall. Still a very good season for Coach Brewer’s ladies, especially for the underclassmen. Based on Golfstat.com rankings, UGA had the 2nd best freshmen class in the nation, led by standout Jenny Bae.
The Men’s team has been practicing at the Sea Island Golf Club this week (St. Simons Island, GA), and official play for the SECs starts today. It is 3 days of stroke play, and the top 8 teams advance to Saturday’s match play format, the quarterfinals in the morning and semifinals in the afternoon, then the top two teams meet Sunday morning for the championship.
Five golfers play with four scores counting. And in a twist of events, teams can bring an alternate player. In years past, if a golfer was sick, injured, or unable to play, the team would simply lose that score. When it comes to match play, that’s forfeiting a valuable point. This famously happened to Texas and Beau Hossler, who was pretty much the top collegiate golfer in the country. But an arm/shoulder injury forced him to forfeit, and Texas lost out on their chance at a natty trophy. Now with an alternate, teams can rotate players in and out almost at will.
Georgia is the 5 seed, but juniors Trevor Phillips and Spencer Ralston actually carry 2 of the top 3 season scoring averages. No seniors this go ‘round, so the young Bulldog squad will be tested by immediate fire. Vanderbilt is the class of the SEC this season, and are odds-on favorites to win the whole shebang.
Both teams have an excellent shot at seeding for NCAA Regionals, but will likely have to travel. So lots left to be decided in the post season for Golfing Dawgs. Remember #CountryClubU y’all, and as always...