Spring has sprung, at least if you’re a collegiate golfer as the season has started. Or if you’re in Puerto Rico, where it’s almost always spring. If you’re a University of Georgia Bulldog golfer, you get it both ways.
The Men’s Golf Team just left Puerto Rico, at least most of them. The team played in the Puerto Rico Classic, facing several top national teams such as Georgia Tech (#3 rank), Oklahoma (#2 rank), Alabama, Clemson, and Tennessee. The 18th ranked Bulldogs pulled off a third place finish, but distant to eventual winner Tech and runner-up Sooners.
Trent Phillips led the Red & Black, finishing Monday with a final round 66 and moving the sophomore up to 4th in the individual standings. Senior Will Chandler had a 3 day total of 4 under par, 4 strokes back of Phillips. And fell senior Spencer Ralston was just two back of that. Davis Thompson was a steady player coming in at even par, and freshman Conor Creasy improved every day to finish at 221, 5 over par for the tourney. For Phillip’s success, he was just named an SEC Co-Player of the Week.
The Women’s Team, led by Coach Josh Brewer (devoted Dawg Sports fan), played the Lady Puerto Rico Classic just a few days before. The 38th ranked Bulldogs placed 8th in the tournament, finishing at 883 strokes which is 19 off the pace of the winning Northwestern Wildcats. Also ahead of the Lady Dawgs were Texas Tech, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Purdue, and Augusta.
Caterina Don (Fr.) and Jenny Bae (So.) paced the Athenians with a score of 220 each. Sophomore Jo Hua Hung was close on their heels with a 223 on the par 72 layout. Candice Mahe, a Freshman from France, was just two off Hung’s pace. And French-Canadian Freshman Celeste Dao rounded out the counting scores with a total 229. Carolina Craig, another Freshman albeit from just outside of Helen, GA, competed as an individual to get some experience, faded down the stretch but had a good showing her first two days.
You’ll notice I said “most” of the Bulldogs just left Puerto Rico. Men’s Team Junior Davis Thompson took the overbooked flight voucher offering, and stuck around as he was invited to play in the PGA Tour Puerto Rico Open this weekend. This is Thompson’s second go-round at a PGA Event, having made the cut and finishing 23rd in last fall’s RSM Classic (Sea Island). Thompson will have a familiar face on the bag, as his father Todd will caddie for him. Todd Thompson was a 4 year letterman for UGA’s golf team back in the mid-1980’s, and I imagine is pretty proud. Why the family lives in Auburn, Alabama is the one big mystery here.
Both Davis Thompson and Trent Phillips have also been named to the Ben Hogan Award Watch List. The Hogan Award is given annually to the top collegiate golfer, kind of like the Heisman of golf.
So if you’re about to be snow and ice bound like I am, all this talk of Puerto Rico really gets you revved up for golf season. Or a sudden onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder. But as always...