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Georgia Golfers Find Plenty of Competition Without the NCAA

NCAA? We don’t need no stinkin’ NCAA!!

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The NCAA, in a wise move that was made moot by previous decisions of most of the schools, conferences, and other governing bodies, canceled the 2020 spring golf season in March. We all know those attending Georgia as student-athletes this spring got one heckuva raw deal. Not only did they not get to spend spring in Athens, they were deprived of competing on the national level, some for the last time.

So what’s a collegiate golfer to do during the summer with no NCAA-sanctioned competition for the foreseeable future? Not to worry, golf abounds in the summer, and our ‘Dawgs took advantage both near and far away.

On the Ladies side, UGA Women’s Golfer Caterina Don (So.) recently completed the Italian Ladies Stroke Play Championship, finishing at 6 under par and good for 2nd place. She is currently #9 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Rankings, and was stroke play medalist at the Italian Ladies Match Play Championship, making it to the semi-finals. Then she turns around and captures the 2020 Italian Women’s Open Championship this weekend. A pretty good tour of her native Italy I’d say.

Caroline Craig (So.) played in the Golf Capital of Tennessee Women’s Open this past weekend. Where might the Golf Capital of Tennessee be, one would ask? Apparently an hour west of Knoxville, and 2 hours north of Chattanooga. /Shrugs. Craig also competed in the North & South Women’s Amateur in mid July (Pinehurst).

Celeste Dao (So.) was tied for the lead after two rounds of the Championnat de Bromont. Yes, Dao is French-Canadian, and yes, the tournament was held in Quebec, and yes, again I struggled to find results in English.

Senior Alison Crenshaw shot a 1 over par 73 in the opening round of the Georgia Women’s State Amateur Championship, and eventually finished 7th. Held at the Landings (Savannah), the 2019 version of this event was won by Georgia’s own Rinko Mitsunaga (and caddied by UGA Women’s Head Coach Josh Brewer - friend of the program).

Just graduated, and not sure if she’s returning for a 5th year of eligibility due to pandemic cancellation of spring sports, Gabriela Coello, qualified and played in the Florida Women’s Amateur Championship in early July.

Rising senior Zoe Walker, to keep things interesting, qualified for the Alabama Women’s Amateur Championship in Huntsville.

Turning to the Men’s Team, Senior Davis Thompson has been busy. First, he played and advanced in the North & South Amateur Championship at Pinehurst. After winning his first match, he succumbed to eventual runner up William Holcomb in the 2nd round. And this past weekend, Thompson played in the Western Amateur at Crooked Stick (where John Daly’s Cinderella story took place). Both he and fellow UGA golfer Connor Creasy made it to the quarterfinals before bowing out.

Trent Phillips and Spencer Ralston also competed in the Western Amateur, an event that has been held 118 times now, but they did not qualify for the match play portion.

The Sunnehanna Amateur Tournament for Champions was contested the latter part of July, and Georgia had 4 representing the Classic City: Trent and Trevor Phillips, Connor Creasy, and Spencer Ralston. At the same time, 4 more Bulldogs were playing in the Southeastern Amateur, held at the ol’ CCC - Country Club of Columbus: Nicolas Cassidy, Will Chandler, Will Kahlstorf, Eli Scott, and Calum Masters. Then in the spirit of equality, David Sikes played in the Northern Amateur.

(Side note: in the 1970’s, the CCC had the tallest high dive at their swimming pool I had ever seen. I’m pretty sure I wet myself the one time I jumped off that board. I’ve no idea if it’s still there, or high it really was).

The competition in the lecture hall was pretty good too. Nicolas Cassidy, John Hilliard Catanzaro, Will Chandler, Will Kahlstorf, Calum Masters, Trent Phillips, Trevor Phillips, David Sikes, and Davis Thompson were all named to the 2020 Spring SEC Academic Honor Roll. In addition, Calum Masters, Trent Phillips, and Davis Thompson were honored as 2020 Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholars.

A busy summer indeed for our Georgia golfers, covering the country and good chunk of the Northern Hemisphere. Hopefully they can return to play as teams, and continue to represent the Red and Black so well. And as always...