You don’t believe me, but I keep tellin’ ya golf is the best thing going right now. Golf has seen a resurgence in popularity because of the “built-in” safeties inherent in the game: its played outdoor, and you can easily keep social distance from your playing group. Even if there’s 144 people playing on an 18 hole course, you’re only within speaking distance of your foursome.
And the highest levels of the game are being played out as we speak. You’ve seen our coverage of the PGA Championship (first major of 2020), and the current crop of Bulldogs are playing in state and national amateur tourneys around the world. Which happens to include the U.S. Amateur being played as we speak. If you don’t know, now you know it’s a juicy event held every year since 1895, other than a break for the World Wars. The list of champions is literally a who’s who of golf: Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods. And previous to the Masters and the PGA Championship, the US Amateur was considered one of the 4 “majors”; it’s where Bobby Jones completed the Grand Slam of all 4 majors in a year and it earned him a ticker tape parade in New York.
Five current underclassmen from Athens are plying their skills in the Amateur this week, competed on the famed Bandon Dunes in Oregon. Seniors Trent Phillips and Spencer Ralston, Junior Davis Thompson, Sophomore Trent Phillips (Trevor’s younger brother), and freshman Connor Creasy have all played the stroke play portion Monday and Tuesday this week (alternating between the Bandon Dunes course and the sister Bandon Trails course.
264 started play Monday, with the top 64 advancing out of stroke play to the match play portion, Creasy shot 79 on the easier Trails course, but followed that with a 1 under 71 on the tough Dunes course; unfortunately that didn’t make the cut. Trevor Phillips never got it going with rounds of 81 and 80. Ralston shot 79 the first day, yet a 2nd day 68 saw him 2 shy of the final spot (there was an 18 man playoff for the final 3 spots).
Trent came through for the Phillips family, shooting 71-72 to be two shots clear of the danger zone. And Davis Thompson shot 69-72 for a 2 under par cumulative and easily inside the line.
Thompson is facing Jonathan Yuan in Wednesday’s match play, while Trent Phillips squares off against Michael Thorbjornsen. If they advance, they have matches Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and the final two will play a 36 hole championship match Sunday. Needless to say, you can’t hide in this format and it definitely identifies a worthy victor.
You can catch the action on Golf Channel most days, and if not on Peacock. The times are mostly in the early evenings, but I’ll link to the broadcast schedule here for your convenience.
A Georgia Bulldog has never won this historic tournament, and it would be quite the achievement. With so many questions right now, this is the answer and is real live Georgia Bulldogs competing in real live competition at the highest (amateur) level. And as always...