Though the Southeastern Conference golf titles have been decided without a Bulldog on the trophy, there is still post-season play for our current matriculating golfers.
The UGA Women’s Golf Team is current in East Lansing, Michigan for the NCAA Regionals. Along with 17 other teams, Coach Josh Brewer will marshal his ladies to finish in one of the top 6 spots, who will then advance to the NCAA Championships.
Monday’s first round was a little bit of a system shock to the ‘Dawgs, as the cool and wet weather in the area led to higher scores than these young women are used to. Five golfers compete for each school with the four best scores counting each day in stroke play. And Georgia turned in a pair of 76’s and a pair of 77’s for a 306 stroke total, with some weather delays. That’s a good 3-4 strokes higher per player on average, and it results in 14th place. But, it’s only 10 shots out of the coveted 6th and final qualifying spot to advance, and since the Georgia golfers have proven they can shoot better, the chances are they will only improve each day. So Tuesday is moving day to get into position, and then play Wednesday like your season depends on it. Because, well, it does.
Next Monday (5/13/19), the UGA Men’s Golf Team will start the same process, competing in the NCAA Regionals. But the Athens was chosen as one of the 6 Regional sites, so our boys get to stay at home. And more importantly, play the UGA Course they know and love so well. Twelve other teams will compete (13 total), and the top 5 advance from each Regional to the NCAA Championships.
The other schools competing in the Athens Regional are: Vandy, Duke, Liberty (no Hugh Freeze as of this posting), Alabama, Tennessee, Campbell, Kentucky, Nevada, SMU, Memphis, UNC-Wilmington, and Princeton.
Those Bulldogs who play golf for a living (edit: are qualified professional members of the PGA Tour) are headed to Texas, and specifically the Dallas area. There they will compete in the AT&T Byron Nelson. Named after “Lord” Byron Nelson, a gentleman and titan of the game in the early-mid 20th century, and after a soul-less corporate giant who pollutes most anything in the area with a ubiquitous and yet still unpleasing-to-the-eye logo.
If that wasn’t a juxtaposition for the ages, the players will tee it up on the relatively new Trinity Forest Golf Club. A course that has no trees. That was built on top of a landfill.
Former Bulldogs Russell Henley, Keith Mitchell (coming off a top 10 last week), Brendon Todd, Harris English, Joey Garber, Sepp Straka, Brian Harman, and Hudson Swafford are all scheduled to tee off Thursday in hopes of big cash and valuable FedEx Cup points. With the PGA Championship only a week away, some of these boys can earn their way in with a top finish.
On a more somber note, one of our more successful Bulldog golfers is going to take a break from golf for a while:
Tomorrow I will celebrate my 34th birthday but I have already begun a new and better chapter in my life. Thank you to my friends and family for being there for me. pic.twitter.com/XJjFYyojlh— Chris Kirk (@Chris_Kirk_) May 7, 2019
Kirk is a 2007 graduate of UGA, still resides in the area with his wife and two young sons, and has had a pretty good career thus far. He was a member of the 2007 US Walker Cup team, the 2015 US Presidents Cup team, has two Web.com Tour victories and 4 PGA Tour victories. He has swing tempo I’m totally jealous of, and though quiet, has been one of my favorites to follow. I know we all wish Chris the best as he seeks treatment, and hope we can see him and that silky swing in the not too distant future.
So lot’s going on for ‘Dawgs chasing little white balls. Let’s root on our men and ladies in action, and as always...