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Monday, April 21, 2014

Bulldogs Set Sights On SEC Championship

Harris English watches his shot during the RBC Heritage. English came in 31st.
Led by the nation's top-ranked player, the Georgia men's golf team will be competing this weekend in the Southeastern Conference Championship at the Sea Island Golf Club on St. Simons Island.

The second-seeded Bulldogs will play Friday through Sunday on the par-70, 6,898-yard layout on the Seaside Course. Georgia is ranked No. 3 by Golfweek, No. 5 by Golf World and No. 6 by Golfstat in this week's polls.

Georgia will use a lineup of seniors Michael Cromie, Joey Garber and Keith Mitchell, sophomore Lee McCoy and freshman Greyson Sigg.

Garber is the country's No. 1-ranked player and he leads the Bulldogs with a 70.52 scoring average. McCoy, who is rated 10th, is next at 71.69, followed by Cromie's 72.27, Mitchell's 73.15 and Sigg's 73.60. Garber, Cromie and McCoy all have medalist crowns this season.

Cromie and McCoy are the only Bulldogs to play in every event this season, and that quintet was together in three previous tournaments. Mitchell will be making his third appearance at the SECs, while Garber, Cromie and McCoy all will be playing for the second time.

"We've had some intense qualifying rounds down the stretch, and that's not going to do anything but toughen us up," Georgia coach Chris Haack. "Our depth has allowed us to use a handful of lineups, and we're excited about this group and the shot that they give us at winning the SEC. Top to bottom, we've been pretty consistent this season. If we can continue playing that way, we should be in the hunt."

The Bulldogs will tee off Friday in 10-minute increments between 7:30 and 8:10 a.m. with their counterparts from No. 1 seed Alabama and No. 3 seed Vanderbilt. The Saturday and Sunday tee times will be based on the standings. Live results and tee times can be found at Golfstat.com and SECSports.com.

The SEC is as strong as ever with No. 1 Alabama, No. 15 Vanderbilt, No. 16 Texas A&M, No. 21 Arkansas, No. 22 LSU and No. 24 South Carolina joining the Bulldogs in the national rankings.

"Two in the top 10 and seven in the top 25, that's pretty strong," Haack said. "But our league has always been like that. To win this tournament, you've got to get through some of the best teams in the country. Our guys respect that challenge, and it's one that they are looking forward to. There's a lot of pride in winning your conference tournament, and it shouldn't be easy to do. If you win this league, you've definitely earned it."

Georgia has been a dominant force at the SECs, winning a league-best 28 conference titles. Under Haack, the Bulldogs have secured seven SEC titles, including five of the previous 13 tournaments held at Sea Island. Georgia also boasts 15 SEC medalists, including Haack proteges Bryant Odom (2001), Brendon Todd (2004) and Russell Henley (2010).

• The Bulldogs dropped a 5-1 decision to No. 5 Georgia Tech on Saturday in the final of the Capital City Club Match Play Championship.

The Bulldogs went 1-1 on Saturday at the Crabapple Course, dispatching No. 19 Florida State 3.5-2.5 in their first match of the day.

Mitchell had the Bulldogs' lone victory against the Yellow Jackets as he topped Bo Andrews 2-up. Garber fell to Ollie Schniederjans 2-up, Cromie dropped a 4 and 3 decision to Richard Werenski, Nicholas Reach was defeated by Anders Albertson 5 and 4, McCoy lost 2 and 1 to Seth Reeves, and Sigg was knocked off by Vincent Whaley 2-up.

Against the Seminoles, Mitchell topped Joaquin Lolas 2-up, Garber defeated Jack Maguire 2 and 1, Reach beat Harry Ellis 2 and 1, and McCoy halved his match with Hank Lebioda. Sigg dropped a 1-up decision to Cristobal Del Solar and Cromie fell 5 and 4 to Rowin Caron.

• This week's PGA TOUR stop is the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Erik Compton, Kevin Kisner and Hudson Swafford are scheduled to compete, and Justin Bolli is listed as an alternate.

• At the RBC Heritage last weekend, Brian Harman led the Bulldogs with a seventh-place finish at 6-under. Chris Kirk came in 27th at 1-under, Harris English placed 31st at even, and Kisner and Brendon Todd took 38th at 1-over. Henley missed the cut.

• The updated FedExCup Standings has Bubba Watson second, English sixth and Kirk eighth.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Garber Is A Semifinalist For The Ben Hogan Award

Joey Garber has been chosen as one of the 10 semifinalists for the Ben Hogan Award, which is given annually to the top golfer based on collegiate and amateur competition.

Garber, a senior from Petoskey, Mich., is currently No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings and the Golfstat Cup Standings. He leads the Bulldogs with a scoring average of 70.52, including six top-10s and eight top-20s in eight events. Earlier this season, Garber posted his first collegiate victory at The Invitational at The Ocean Course.

On May 7, the 10 semifinalists will be pared down to three finalists. They will attend a black-tie banquet at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 18 when the winner will be announced. The winner also will receive an exemption into the PGA TOUR's Crowne Plaza Invitational in 2015.

The other semifinalists are Bryson Dechambeau of SMU, Greg Eason from Central Florida, Brandon Hagy of California, Cheng-Tsung Pan from Washington, Patrick Rodgers of Stanford, Ollie Schniederjans from Georgia Tech, Robby Shelton of Alabama, Cameron Wilson from Stanford and Bobby Wyatt of Alabama.

• The Bulldogs will have their final tuneup before the SEC Championship on Saturday in the Capital City Club College Match Play Championship. The event, which will be held on the Crabapple Course at Capital City Club, will feature the Bulldogs along with host Georgia Tech, Auburn and Florida State.

The one-day event features the four teams squaring off in match play with semifinal matches beginning at 7:30 a.m., followed by the consolation and championship matches at 1:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Using the Golfstat rankings, No. 6 Georgia will open against No. 19 Florida State and No. 5 Georgia Tech will take on No. 26 Auburn.

The Bulldogs will have a lineup of seniors Michael Cromie, Joey Garber and Keith Mitchell, junior Nicholas Reach, sophomore Lee McCoy and freshman Greyson Sigg. Five of those six players will make up the lineup for the SEC Championship next Friday through Sunday on St. Simons Island.

• The RBC Heritage will be held this week at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head. Chris Kirk, Brian Harman, Harris English, Russell Henley, Brendon Todd, Erik Compton and Kevin Kisner are slated to play as Georgia has a tournament-high seven participants.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Green Machine: Watson Wins The Masters For The Second Time In Three Years

Bubba Watson answers questions after winning The Masters on Sunday.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Bubba Watson's second Masters title was nothing like the green jacket he won two years ago.

The only daring shot Watson hit was one he really didn't need. The wild swing in momentum came on the front nine, not the back nine of Augusta National. And the sweetest difference of all Sunday was seeing his 2-year-old son walk toward him on the edge of the 18th green after his three-shot victory over Jordan Spieth.

Watson turned in another masterpiece and joined an elusive group as the 17th player to win the Masters more than once.

He turned a two-shot deficit into a two-shot lead on the final two holes of the front nine, then kept Spieth, 20, and everyone else at safe distance the rest of the way. Watson closed with a 3-under 69 to beat a pair of Masters rookies in Spieth and Jonas Blixt of Sweden.

Two years ago, when he hit that wild hook out of the trees on the 10th hole to win in a playoff, his wife and newly adopted son were watching at home in Florida. This time, young Caleb was decked out in a green-and-white striped Masters shirt and green tennis shoes as he waddled over to his father.

"This one's a lot different," Watson said. "The first one, for me, it was almost like I lucked into it."

After high-fiving the crowd on his way to sign his card, Watson returned to Butler Cabin to take back that green jacket he slipped on Adam Scott a year ago.

"After giving it away last year, I wanted it back," Watson said. "I told Adam we could just swap it back and forth every year."

Spieth, trying to become the youngest Masters champion, could only watch from the side of the green.
He dazzled the massive crowd early by holing out for birdie from the front bunker on No. 4, and making back-to-back birdies to build a two-shot lead through seven holes. Bidding to become the first player in 35 years to win a green jacket in his first try, Spieth looked to be well on his way.

But he three-putted for bogey on No. 8 — the first 6 on his card all week — as Watson got up-and-down for birdie to tie for the lead. Spieth then made a rookie mistake, leaving his approach below the flagstick on No. 9 and watching it roll back into the fairway, setting up another bogey and two-shot swing.

Whatever prayer he had might have ended at Amen Corner.

His tee shot on No. 12 found Rae's Creek. He missed a short birdie attempt on the 13th.

Watson was too powerful, too experienced, too tough to beat. Spieth closed with six pars for a 72 and tied for second with Blixt, who never went away but never really threatened. Blixt shot a 71.

"That was fun, but at the same time, it hurts right now," Spieth said. "I wanted to get in contention on the back nine Sunday, but didn't come out on top."

Watson finished at 8-under 280 and goes to a career-best No. 4 in the world.

Chris Kirk made his Masters debut a memorable one, finishing 20th at 2-over. Russell Henley, making his second appearance, came in 31st at 5-over, while first-timer Harris English missed the cut at 6-over.

“I feel like I could have played so much better,” Kirk told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “That’s what makes me feel very hopeful for my future in this tournament. I played some pretty solid golf and made a few putts here and there. I still feel very optimistic because I think I can play so much better.”

“One or two things every day,” Henley told the AJC. “I feel like my game is getting closer and closer. I finished T7 last week with a 66 on Sunday. I made the cut at the Masters for the first time. I’m doing a lot of really good things and I’m close to playing some excellent golf."


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Masters Tee Times Announced


Harris English (top) and Russell Henley (below) work on their games during a practice round on Tuesday in Augusta.
The tee times for the Masters were released today.

On Thursday, Chris Kirk will tee off at 12:53 p.m., followed by Bubba Watson at 1:15 p.m., and Harris English and Russell Henley together at 1:59 p.m.

Friday, Kirk will go at 9:24 a.m., while Watson is scheduled for 9:57 a.m., and English and Henley are slated for 10:41 a.m.

The appearance of four Bulldogs in the Masters marks an all-time high for the school. Watson won the 2012 Masters.

CBSSports.com had some thoughts on the pairings, and specifically mentioned Watson, English and Henley.

For a complete schedule, including broadcast coverage, click here.

Monday, April 7, 2014

McCoy, Bulldogs Dominate Met Intercollegiate

Bubba Watson and caddie Ted Scott walk in the rain during a practice session for the Masters on Monday.
Led by medalist Lee McCoy, Georgia dominated the Met Intercollegiate on Saturday for its third victory of the season.

The Bulldogs fired a 16-over 580 on the Century Country Club and Old Oaks Country Club courses on Saturday. Georgia shot a 3-over 287 at Century and a 13-over 293 at Old Oaks to top host Yale by 33 strokes.

The Bulldogs earlier won the Dick's Sporting Goods Collegiate Challenge Cup in September and the Linger Longer Invitational in their last outing in March.

McCoy, a sophomore from Clarkesville, Ga., earned medalist honors for the first time in his career. He was the only golfer under par at 6-under 135, including a 7-under 64 at Century. McCoy won by 11 shots over Bulldogs teammate Nicholas Reach (who was playing as an individual and did not count toward the team score) and Yale's Sam Bernstein at 5-over 146.

After McCoy and Reach, the Bulldogs had the remaining four players in the top 12. Joey Garber and Michael Cromie placed fourth at 6-over 147, Greyson Sigg came in sixth at 10-over 151 and Keith Mitchell was 12th at 14-over 155.

McCoy, Garber and Cromie all have individual victories this season.

The Bulldogs will return to action April 19 in the Capital City Club College Match Play Championship in Milton. Georgia then will play in the SEC Championship April 25-27 on St. Simons Island.

"We've definitely picked up some momentum this spring, and it should help us in the championship part of the schedule," Georgia coach Chris Haack said. "The guys were really dialed in today and did a good job of navigating the two courses. Lee was really, really solid. His 64 was something to see. He's a talented young man, and I'm really happy that he was able to get his first win."

• The Bulldogs are up to No. 2 in this week's Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, trailing only Alabama. Garber is still listed as the No. 1 golfer, while McCoy jumped up to No. 10.

• It's Masters week and the Bulldogs will have four alums in the field: Bubba Watson, Russell Henley, Chris Kirk and Harris English. We'll get the tee times on Tuesday. But we already know that English's confidence is sky high after he made a hole-in-one on No. 12 in practice. And if you want to know what Watson is wearing this week, take a look at this article.

• At last week's Shell Houston Open, Henley was seventh at 8-under, Erik Compton was 12th at 7-under, Brendon Todd and Hudson Swafford placed 43rd at even, Brian Harman came in 58th at 2-over, Kirk finished 65th at 4-over and Kevin Kisner took 68th at 5-over.

• The Bulldogs continue to dominate the Rivals Cup. With Watson, English and Kirk all above the $2 million mark in earnings, Georgia has more than $11.6 million this season. Georgia Tech is second with $5.5 million and UNLV is third with $4.4 million. The Rivals Cup promotes the collegiate affiliations of professional athletes by ranking the NCAA programs that are having the greatest impact in professional sports.

• In the FedExCup standings, English is fourth, Watson is fifth, Kirk is sixth and Henley is 23rd.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cromie Earns SEC Golfer Of The Week Honors

Senior Michael Cromie was named SEC Golfer of the Week on March 26.

Cromie earned individual medalist honors with a sudden death playoff victory over Alabama’s Robby Shelton after the pair ended regulation tied at 207. The win marked the second time Cromie has medaled in his Georgia career.

The senior from Cary, N.C., received the honor three days after leading the Bulldogs to victory at the Linger Longer Invitational in Greensboro, Ga., with a 3-under score of 69 in the final round and an overall 9-under score of 207 for the 72-hole event. His scores helped the Bulldogs finish 10 strokes better than No. 1-ranked Alabama.

For the season he has a scoring average of 72.17 and has been in the top-10 five times in eight events.

• The Bulldogs have added two events to their pre-SEC Championships schedule.

Georgia will play on Saturday in the Met Intercollegiate at Century and Old Oaks in Purchase, New York. Joining the Bulldogs and host Yale will be Army, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn and Princeton. It will be a 1-day, 36-hole event with 18 holes at Century at 8 a.m. and 18 at Old Oaks at 1:30 p.m. Coach Chris Haack is taking six players for the tournament: seniors Cromie, Joey Garber and Keith Mitchell, junior Nicholas Reach, sophomore Lee McCoy and freshman Greyson Sigg. Reach and Sigg will be vying for the final spot in the lineup during a practice round at Winged Foot Golf Club.

Georgia then will play in the Capital City Club College Match Play Championship on Saturday, April 19, at the Capital City Club's Crabapple Course. The 1-day event will have Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn and Florida State playing each other in match play. The semifinals will begin at 7:30 a.m., followed by the consolation and championship matches at 1:30 p.m. The matches are structured similar to those at the NCAA Championship, with each team’s No. 5 player facing each other, followed by their No. 4 players and so on. Scoring will also be the same, with each individual match counting one point toward the team score.

The semifinal matches will feature the team ranked highest among the four in that week’s Golfstat rankings against the team ranked lowest. The other semifinal would pit the team ranked second-highest against the team ranked third-highest. Current rankings would pit No. 4 Georgia Tech against No. 26 Auburn and No. 5 Georgia against No. 12 Florida State, but the semifinal match-ups are subject to change.

• The PGA TOUR stop this week is the Shell Houston Open. Scheduled to play are Erik Compton, Hudson Swafford, Brendon Todd, Chris Kirk, Russell Henley, Brian Harman and Kevin Kisner, while Justin Bolli and Ryuji Imada are listed as alternates.

• In the updated FedExCup Standings, Harris English is fourth, Bubba Watson is fifth, Kirk is sixth and Henley is 25th.

• At last week's Valero Texas Open, Todd came in sixth at 5-under and Harman placed 16th at 1-under. Kisner and Swafford missed the cut and Compton withdrew after feeling "a little weak."

• There is no Web.com Tour event this week. At last week's Chitimacha Louisiana Open, Imada placed 25th at 8-under. Bolli and Scott Parel missed the cut.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cromie, Bulldogs Record Victories At Linger Longer Invitational

Michael Cromie topped Alabama's Robby Shelton in a one-hole playoff to win the Linger Longer Invitational.
Led by medalist Michael Cromie, the No. 5-ranked Georgia men's golf team won the Linger Longer Invitational at Great Waters.

The Bulldogs notched a 10-shot win over No. 1-ranked Alabama as they were the only team under par in the final round. Georgia shot 7-under 281 Sunday to wind up at 27-under 837. Heading into the final round, Georgia and Alabama were tied at 20-under.

Cromie paced the Bulldogs as they put all five players in the top 13. The senior fired a 3-under 69 on Sunday to finish at 9-under 207. Cromie and Alabama's Robby Shelton completed 72 holes at 9-under, then Cromie won a one-hole playoff by making birdie on No. 18. Cromie earned medalist honors for the second time in his career.

Joey Garber and Lee McCoy finished third at 6-under 210, Keith Mitchell came in 10th at 2-under 214 and Nicholas Reach was 13th at 1-under 215.

Playing as an individual, freshman Greyson Sigg came in seventh at 3-under 213, including a 2-over 74 in the final round. Also as individuals, Sam Straka wound up at 6-over 222 with a final-round 3-over 75 and Mookie DeMoss finished at 11-over 227 with a 6-over 78 on Sunday.

"To say this was a good weekend would be an understatement," Georgia coach Chris Haack said. "The guys really played sold golf from start to finish. We're not that far away from the championship portion of the schedule, so to get a win this late is a boost to our confidence. I couldn't be happier for Michael. He's been a great senior leader this season and a great Bulldog his entire career. It's great to see him pick up a win like this to validate all the hard work he puts in."

The win was the first of the spring and the second of the season for the Bulldogs.

• The PGA TOUR stop this week is the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, Texas. Erik Compton, Brian Harman, Kevin Kisner, Hudson Swafford and Kevin Kisner are scheduled to participate.

• At last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, Compton finished fifth at 9-under. Harris English was 14th at 5-under and Chris Kirk took 60th at 3-over. Harman, Swafford, Russell Henley and Brendon Todd missed the cut.

• The Web.com Tour will be at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open Presented by NACHER in Brousard, La. Justin Bolli, Ryuji Imada and Scott Parel are in the field.

• At last week's Panama Claro Championship, Bolli was 30th at even par and Parel was 47th at 2-over. Imada and Paul Claxton missed the cut.