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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Georgia Alum Cook Leads Coastal To Another Title, Earns Coach Of The Year Honors

Congratulations to Mike Cook, an All-SEC performer for Georgia from 1979-82, on coaching the College of Coastal Georgia men's golf team to the 2015 NAIA national championship.

The Mariners won the title by 11 shots over William Woods (Mo.) on the Hills Course at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla.

"It's amazing," Cook said. "I never would have thought this when we started the program five years ago. The goal from the beginning was to recruit the best players possible and try to win a national championship. Now, we've won two in a row. That's just special."

The Mariners are now 2-for-2 at the national tournament. Last year, they won the school's first-ever national crown in any sport with a come-from-behind victory in the final round, erasing a six-shot deficit to win by four strokes over defending national champion and perennial power Oklahoma City.

With the wire-to-wire victory at the national tournament, the Mariners won for the eighth time this season in 10 tournaments. The eight wins is a school-record, surpassing the five the Mariners posted last season while claiming the national championship.

At the post-tournament awards ceremony, Cook was named the NAIA Coach of the Year.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Kirk Notches Fourth PGA Tour Win At Colonial

Chris Kirk
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Chris Kirk was prepared to need a putt for a playoff at Colonial.

No extra holes were necessary Sunday for Kirk to get his fourth PGA Tour victory.

Kirk made up for an errant tee shot at No. 18 with a par-saving and winning 7-foot putt after playing partner Brandt Snedeker's birdie try slid by the hole.

"My first three wins on tour have all been little tap-ins on the last hole," Kirk said. "So to step up and make a putt that I knew was to win is something I'll never forget."

With his closing 4-under 66, Kirk got to 12-under 268, one ahead of Snedeker, Masters champion Jordan Spieth and Jason Bohn.

Bohn had a 63 that included six consecutive birdies on the front nine. Spieth shot 65, with a near-birdie that became a bogey at the par-3 16th hole.

When Kirk got in trouble at No. 18, Bohn and Spieth went to the nearby No. 1 tee and were hitting balls in preparation for a potential playoff. Spieth was already back near the green when Kirk got ready to putt.

Kirk hooked his tee shot at No. 18 into the left rough, then hit his approach from 155 yards over the green. A nice chip set up the winning putt after Snedeker's miss from 12 feet after a similar tee shot to finish a 67.

"Close friends with Brandt, and play a lot of golf with him, and he doesn't miss very many of those putts," Kirk said. "Once he didn't make it, then I was able to change my mindset."

Spieth was only a few minutes removed from a 20-foot birdie putt at the closing hole, where more than an hour earlier Bohn had a 28-footer that lipped the cup and left him lifting the putter over his head in frustration.

"I thought it was in, that's why I started running. I think it just straightened out," Bohn said.

"The second round set me back," Spieth said, referring to the 73 he had Friday after opening with a lead-tying 64.

Spieth has finished as the runner-up in all three PGA Tour events played in Texas this season.

As a junior at Georgia in 2006, Kirk was the runner-up for the Hogan Award given by Colonial to the nation's top college player. He decided then to return for his senior year for a chance to win the award — and did.

He now has a plaid jacket and a $1.17 million check, which will be plenty to cover the new home he is buying in Georgia, after winning on the PGA Tour at a saturated Hogan's Alley. The sun finally came out late in the final round after heavy rain overnight and throughout tournament week.

After have the best round Saturday with a 65, Kirk started the final day with an eagle. His only bogey came after hitting his drive at No. 7 into the rough.

Kevin Kisner continued his recent good work with a fifth-place effort at 10-under. Brian Hrman came in 10th at 9-under, followed by Erik Compton at 33rd at 4-under and Brendon Todd at 2-under. Hudson Swafford missed the cut.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bulldogs To Play With UNLV, Houston At NCAAs

• It was announced Tuesday that Georgia will be paired with UNLV and Houston for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Championships at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla. Tee times will start at 8:10 a.m. May 29 and 1:30 p.m. May 30. More details to come.

• Hudson Swafford, Kevin Kisner, Brian Harman, Chris Kirk, Brendon Todd and Erik Compton will be competing this week in the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

• Kevin Kisner placed 38th in last week's Wells Fargo Championship, while Erik Compton and Brian Harman missed the cut.

• Scott Parel came in 55th in the BMW Charity Pro-Am, while Justin Bolli and Bryden Macpherson missed the cut.

• Dates to remember:
Chris Haack Golf Camp Session 1: June 7-10
Chris Haack Golf Camp Session 2: June 11-14
Bulldog Open: Sept. 18
Lettermen's Tournament: Oct. 2
Contact Denise (dsaliba@sports.uga.edu, 706-369-6066) with any questions.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Georgia Golfers Qualify For NCAA Championships

RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. ---- The Georgia men's golf team qualified for the NCAA Championships on Saturday by placing fourth in the San Diego Regional at The Farms Golf Club.

The top five schools from the San Diego Regional moved on to the NCAAs, which will be held May 29-June 3 at The Concession Golf Club in Brandenton, Fla. Joining the Bulldogs from San Diego were Oklahoma, Arizona State, Georgia Tech and Virginia.

After Thursday's opening round, the Bulldogs stood 12th at 19-over 307 and were 10 shots out of fifth place. But they bounced back on Friday with a 10-under 278 to jump to fifth and closed with a 3-under 285 to come in fourth at 6-over 870.

"I really could not be prouder of our guys," Georgia coach Chris Haack said "They showed tremendous resolve over the last two rounds and we can definitely carry that momentum into the NCAAs. Our goal has been to get to the NCAAs and go after another national title. But we knew we couldn't do that without closing strong here. We did just that, so here we are. We're excited about reaching another NCAAs."

Oklahoma won the Regional at 21-under 843, followed by Arizona State at 1-under 863, Georgia Tech at 5-over 869 and Virginia at 10-over 874.

Junior Lee McCoy paced the Bulldogs on Saturday with a 3-under 69. Sophomore Greyson Sigg signed for a 1-under 71, followed by senior Mookie DeMoss at even-par 72 and freshman Zach Healy at 1-over 73. Junior Sepp Straka had the Bulldogs' non-counting score 7-over 79.

McCoy placed fifth individually at 4-under 212, six shots shy of Arizona's Jon Rahm, and DeMoss finished seventh at 2-under 214. Healy wound up at 4-over 220, followed by Sigg at 9-over 225 and Straka at 19-over 235.

The field for the 2015 NCAAs will be Arizona State, Auburn, Charlotte, Clemson, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Houston, Illinois, LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, San Diego State, SMU, South Carolina, South Florida, Southern Cal, Stanford, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, UAB, UCLA, UNLV, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Washington.

Under Haack, the Bulldogs have moved onto the NCAAs in five straight years and 17 of his 19 campaigns. Haack led the Bulldogs to the 1999 and 2005 national titles and to runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2011.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bulldogs Set To Begin San Diego Regional

Georgia has won three tournaments this season, taken second in three additional events, and placed third in one other. But in terms of getting a berth in the NCAA Championships, none of that matters.

The only way the Bulldogs can advance to the NCAAs is to post a top-5 finish in the San Diego Regional, which begins on Thursday at The Farms Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. The top five finishers in the Regional will advance to the NCAAs May 29-June 3 at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.

The Bulldogs are seeded sixth in the San Diego Regional. Joining the Bulldogs and the host and ninth-seeded Toreros will be No. 1 seed Arizona State, No. 2 seed Georgia Tech, No. 3 seed Oklahoma, No. 4 seed New Mexico, No. 5 seed Virginia, No. 7 seed East Tennessee State, No. 8 seed Ole Miss, No. 10 seed Idaho, No. 11 seed St. Mary's College of California, No. 12 seed Wichita State and No. 13 seed Eastern Kentucky. Georgia Tech (ACC), East Tennessee State (Southern), Idaho (Big Sky), Wichita State (Missouri Valley) and Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Valley) won their respective conference titles.

Georgia will be paired on Thursday with Virginia and New Mexico, with tee times starting at 11:20 a.m.

The Bulldogs will use a lineup of senior Mookie DeMoss, juniors Lee McCoy and Sepp Straka, sophomore Greyson Sigg and freshman Zach Healy. A First-Team All-SEC pick, McCoy leads the Bulldogs with a scoring average of 69.55 (70.69 is the single-season school record) and is the third-rated individual nationally in the GolfStat rankings. Straka, Sigg and Healy are closely bunched with averages of 72.38, 72.43 and 72.85, respectively.

"We've been a pretty good team this year when our guys have put it together at the same time," Georgia coach Chris Haack said. "When that happens -- and we hope it can happen again this week -- it's been something to see. ... From a mental standpoint, we feel good because we've seen most of these teams and finished ahead of them in some of the tournaments. We know we can compete with them and we know we can beat them if we play solid golf."

The Bulldogs have been invited to an NCAA Regional for the 26th time in 27 years since the format was introduced for the 1989 season. In the previous 25 years, Georgia has advanced to the NCAAs 19 times. The Bulldogs have been invited to an NCAA Regional in all 19 of Haack's seasons and have moved onto the NCAAs in 16 of the previous 18 campaigns. Haack led the Bulldogs to the 1999 and 2005 national titles and to runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2011.

The other Regional sites are The Sagamore Club in Noblesville, Ind.; Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill, N.C.; The Rawls Course in Lubbock, Texas; Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash.; and The Course at Yale in New Haven, Conn.

"We're going into this tournament extremely focused because of what's at stake," Haack said. "In the past, when it was three Regionals and 10 teams advanced, you could have a bad round and survive. Now that it's six Regionals with five advancing, one bad round can send you home, and that's been proven every year with this format. Like all the teams, we just want to survive and advance."

• Our friends at GeorgiaDogs.com have produced a nice piece on Lee McCoy. Worth the watch!

• Dates to remember:
Chris Haack Golf Camp Session 1: June 7-10
Chris Haack Golf Camp Session 2: June 11-14
Bulldog Open: Sept. 18
Lettermen's Tournament: Oct. 2
Contact Denise (dsaliba@sports.uga.edu, 706-369-6066) with any questions.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Kisner Has Impressive Showing In The Players

Kevin Kisner reacts as his ball stops inches from the 18th hole in regulation
during the final round of The Players Championship on Sunday.

Kevin Kisner was oh-so-close – again!

Just a couple of weeks removed from his runner-up finish in a playoff with Jim Furyk on Hilton Head, Kisner came in second again at The Players Championship on Sunday.

Kisner, eventual winner Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia finished regulation at 12-under 276. Kisner got up-and-down for birdie on the 16th and holed a 10-footer for birdie on the 17th. He had a 10-foot birdie putt for the win in regulation, and it touched the right side of the cup but did not fall in.

For the first time, The Players went to a three-hole aggregate playoff starting on the par-5 16th, where they all made par. Kisner rolled in a breaking 10-foot birdie putt on the island-green 17th to keep pace with Fowler, who hit his tee shot to six feet and converted the birdie. Garcia, who in regulation made a 45-foot birdie to give him new life, failed to repeat the putt from about the same range in the playoff. All three players made par on the final hole, which eliminated Garcia.

Fowler and Kisner headed back to the 17th hole for the third time. Kisner barely cleared the mound and the ball settled 12 feet away. Fowler answered by taking on the right side of the green and sticking it just inside five feet. Kisner was unable to sink his birdie putt and Fowler was.

"You don't expect out here for anybody to hand it to you," Kisner said. "These guys are all good and everybody's going to step up when the time's needed. This playoff was really good and the way guys closed it out, everybody made birdies coming in down the stretch to get to the playoff. So, it was a cool way to finish and I'm looking forward to getting to Charlotte (for this week's Wells Fargo Championship) and playing again."

Kisner's performance was all the more impressive considering he was competing in his first Players -- and looking for his first PGA Tour victory.

“If any player watched this today, I’ll tell you what, not one of them wants to be in a playoff with Kevin Kisner going forward," said Frank Nobilo, a former Tour pro now working for Golf Channel. "He flat out said, ‘I don’t care who you are; I’m going to take you on.’”

Kisner's coach, John Tillery, wasn't surprised by Kisner's gritty performance.

"You'd think he did enough to win both of them," said Tillery. "He's always had that confidence. From the first day we worked together, he told me, ‘If you can get me to hit it good enough to get in contention, I can win out there.’ He isn't scared."

"I felt awesome out there playing," Kisner said. "I've been in that situation just a few weeks ago, so I probably relied on that a lot, coming down the stretch. But I hit every shot like I wanted to. I thought I made it in regulation; I really did. I thought that was over right then. My hat's off to Rickie; he played great. Two great birdies on 17, just came up short. I'll get mine."

The nine Bulldogs had another great showing in The Players. After Kisner’s runner-up finish, Brian Harman came in eighth at 8-under, 54-hole leader Chris Kirk took 13th at 7-under, Russell Henley came in 24th at 5-under, Erik Compton placed 30th at 4-under, Bubba Watson was 42nd at 2-under and Brendon Todd finished 51st at 1-under, while Harris English missed the cut.

• Kevin Kisner, Erik Compton and Brian Harman will be back in action this week in the Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina.

• Justin Bolli, Bryden Macpherson and Scott Parel will play in the Web.com Tour's BMW Charity Pro-Am in South Carolina. Ryuji Imada is one of the alternates.

• By virtue of his fifth-place finish in the PGA Tour Canada Q-School, Nicholas Reach will be exempt through the first six events of 2015 (beginning with the PC Financial Open on May 28) and subject to the re-shuffle. Mookie DeMoss came in 34th to earn conditional status.

• Dates to remember:
Chris Haack Golf Camp Session 1: June 7-10
Chris Haack Golf Camp Session 2: June 11-14
Bulldog Open: Sept. 18
Lettermen's Tournament: Oct. 2
Contact Denise (dsaliba@sports.uga.edu, 706-369-6066) with any questions.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Bulldogs Invited To NCAA Regional Hosted By San Diego

Georgia will begin its quest for another national championship May 14-16 at the NCAA Regional hosted by the University of San Diego, according to an announcement Monday by the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Committee.

The Bulldogs are seeded sixth in the San Diego Regional, which will be held at The Farms Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Thirteen teams will compete in the Regional, with the top five teams advancing to the NCAA Championships May 29-June 3 in Bradenton, Fla.

Joining the Bulldogs and the host and ninth-seeded Toreros will be No. 1 seed Arizona State, No. 2 seed Georgia Tech, No. 3 seed Oklahoma, No. 4 seed New Mexico, No. 5 seed Virginia, No. 7 seed East Tennessee State, No. 8 seed Ole Miss, No. 10 seed Idaho, No. 11 seed St. Mary’s College of California, No. 12 seed Wichita State and No. 13 seed Eastern Kentucky. Georgia Tech (ACC), East Tennessee State (Southern), Idaho (Big Sky), Wichita State (Missouri Valley) and Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Valley) won their respective conference titles.

"We are definitely looking forward to playing in the San Diego Regional," Georgia coach Chris Haack said. "The field is a strong one, and we'll have to be at our best to be one of the teams to advance. As usual, there is no margin for error at this time of the season. We'll have to practice hard in the coming days and come into this event extremely focused."

The Bulldogs were invited to an NCAA Regional for the 26th time in 27 years since the format was introduced for the 1989 season. In the previous 25 years, Georgia has advanced to the NCAAs 19 times. The Bulldogs have been invited to an NCAA Regional in all 19 of Haack's seasons and have moved onto the NCAAs in 16 of the previous 18 campaigns. Haack led the Bulldogs to the 1999 and 2005 national titles and to runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2011.

The other Regional sites are The Sagamore Club in Noblesville, Ind.; Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill, N.C.; The Rawls Course in Lubbock, Texas; Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash.; and The Course at Yale in New Haven, Conn.

• Last week, Georgia's Lee McCoy received two honors as he was named First-Team All-Southeastern Conference by the league office and to the United States team for the 2015 Pan American Games. McCoy was named First-Team All-SEC for the first time in his career. McCoy is the 42nd Bulldog to earn First-Team All-SEC distinction. Under Haack, the Bulldogs have had at least one First-Team pick in 17 out of 19 seasons. The inaugural golf portion of the Pan Am Games will take place July 16-19 on the South Course at Angus Glen Golf Club in Toronto. Earlier, McCoy was named to the United States Palmer Cup Team that will compete June 12-14 in Illinois and he was one of the 10 semifinalists for the Ben Hogan Award.

• Eight Bulldogs are in action this week in the Travelers Championship -- Brendon Todd, Russell Henley, Chris Kirk, Bubba Watson, Brian Harman, Kevin Kisner, Erik Compton and Harris English.