My head is spinning. There are current and former UGA golfers in competition all over the place right now, and I just can’t keep it straight. But I’ll do my level best to let you know who, where, and what.
Of primary concern is the NCAA Championships for the current class of UGA golfers. Georgia is returning for the first time in 3 years to this unique format, and is playing practice rounds Thursday at The Blessings Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The championship begins Friday, with all 30 teams playing stroke play through Monday. But they cut the field to the best 15 teams after Sunday’s round. After Monay’s play, the top 8 teams (or low 8 based on team scores) will advance to Tuesday’s quarterfinals, then Wednesday’s semifinals, and the championship match Thursday. Georgia will be paired with BYU and Clemson in 3-somes.
While the Classic City lineup will be playing for these ultimate stakes for the first time, they are an accomplished bunch. As a starting 5, Trent Phillips, Will Kahlstorf, Davis Thompson, Spencer Ralston, and Trevor Phillips have 3 titles on the season. That includes the recently completed NCAA Regional Tournament held in Athens. And as we’ve mentioned before, Ralston and Trent Phillips are 1st Team All-SEC, while Thompson is a 2nd Team All-SEC performer. Georgia as a team is ranked #14.
Though the women’s team did not advance to Nationals (Duke defeated Wake Forest Wednesday for the championship), there is still some excitement. Canadian and 2019 incoming freshman Bulldog golfer Celeste Dao won a recent qualifying event, and will be playing in the US Women’s Open (as an amateur). Held May 30-June 2 at the Country Club of Charleston, Dao will return to the US Open. She competed last year in the same event as a 16 year old, but failed to make the cut.
For the professionals, three former Bulldogs are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to play at historic Colonial Country Club. Site of the longest continuously running PGA Tour tournament at the same course (Augusta National is longer, but is not a PGA Tour event. Long story). The thing that isn’t the same is the tournament name, now called Charles Schwab Challenge. And honestly, this was a rescue by Charles Scwab, otherwise the tournament was in danger of folding and being replaced.
But rescued it was, and a good thing, as it was a favorite haunt of golf legend and local hero Ben Hogan. It’s a short course, fairly tight with doglegs aplenty. Think Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island, but not near as many trees and usually more wind. That won’t keep the scores high, as this course usually gets got by the pros. I believe 61 is the course record, which has been equaled 6 more times including last year by Kevin Na. Englishman and professional pitchman Justin Rose is the defending champ. Former Bulldogs and PGA Tour winners Brian Harman, Kevin Kisner, and Hudson Swafford will be looking to take that particular moniker away from him.
On the mini-tour circuit, former ‘Dawg Greyson Sigg is playing in the Canada Life Open as part of the McKenzie Tour. The CLO (I don’t know if they really call it that) is played in Vancouver, British Columbia at Point Grey Golf & Country Club.
Erik Compton is a PGA Tour veteran, and trying to earn his Tour card back on the Web.com Tour. He is scheduled to compete in the Evans Scholars Invitational, held at The Glen Club in Glenview, IL.
Last week was the PGA Championship on Long Island, NY. This week is the Kitchenaid Senior PGA Championship in Rochester, NY. The 50 and older crowd will be playing historic Oak Hill Country Club, and that includes former UGA golfer and Vidalia native Paul Claxton.
And let’s not leave the professional ladies out either. Literally just graduated Jillian Hollis is playing at Zimmer Biomet Championship Hosted By Nancy Lopez on the Symetra Tour (the LPGA equivalent of the Web.com Tour). She is joined by fellow former Bulldogs Harang Lee and former All-American Bailey Tardy. The good news is they’re playing the Lake Course at Grand National - part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. The bad news is the course in located in Auburn, AL.
So to recap, we’ve got Texas, Illinois, New York, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, and British Columbia covered this week. Seems you can’t swing a dead gator by the tail and not hit a Bulldog golfer plying their trade. I’ve probably missed some names, so feel free to add some in the comments. Catch the golf where you can, and as always...