For the first time in 2 years, the SEC will hold it’s Men’s Golf Championships this week. Settling in St. Simons Island the last two decades, the SEC Championships are contested at Sea Island Golf Club and specifically their Seaside Course. This is the same course visited each fall by the PGA Tour for the RSM Classic, and the surrounding residential neighborhoods are home to about a dozen PGA Tour pros.
But this week is all about the undergrads. Unless they’re a graduate with eligibility. Or returned to take advantage of another year granted to spring sport athletes by the NCAA because of the pandemic. You know... college students.
The SEC is loaded once again, and while the Bulldogs are the top ranked conference team, it’s a close-run thing. Georgia is #10 nationally, but close on their heels and all in the top 25 are Texas A&M, Auburn, Vandy, UF, Tennessee, Arkansas, and LSU.
The Red and Black are led by senior Davis Thompson, currently #14 in collegiate golf but he’s flirted with the top 5 the last couple of years. Thompson won two individual medalist awards this season, but in separate events than the two Georgia team wins. Junior Trent Phillips has been the Conseco to Thompson’s Maguire, the Jeff Kent to Thompson’s Barry Bonds, the Bob Horner to Thompson’s Dale Murphy. He’s top 25 in collegiate rankings himself and is top 50 in the world amateur golf rankings. The 3 other Bulldogs set to compete are Spencer Ralston (5-Sr), Eli Scott (Jr.), and Connor Creasy (So.).
The format is 3 days of 18 hole cumulative scoring, with the players in threesomes (each UGA golfer will be paired with one from Auburn and one from Texas A&M). The top 8 teams then advance to match play Saturday morning, with the semi-finals Saturday afternoon and the finals Sunday morning.
The Women’s Golf Team just finished up their SEC Championships with a frankly surprising last place finish in Birmingham. Missing rising star Caterina Don, Coach Josh Brewer’s charges didn’t bring their form across the Chattahoochee. Well, all except for Junior Jenny Bae. After an opening even par 72, Bae shot consecutive rounds of 68-68 to move into a tie for 10th as an individual.
Both teams are pretty much shoe-ins for making the NCAA Regional round which begins for the Women just after Mother’s Day, and a week after for the Men’s side.
Television coverage for the Men’s SEC Championship is limited to Saturday afternoon’s semi-finals on SEC+, and the SEC Network will carry the Sunday morning finals. Here’s hoping we can watch the current crop of Bulldogs bring a conference ring back to the Classic City. And as always...