Thursday, July 24, 2014

5 Bulldogs Qualified For U.S. Amateur

Mookie DeMoss snared the final spot at a U.S. Amateur qualifier at Great Waters.
There will be five Bulldogs in the United States Amateur Championship next month.

Rising senior Mookie DeMoss, rising junior Lee McCoy and incoming freshman Zach Healy and former Bulldogs Butler Melnyk and Keith Mitchell have qualified for the U.S. Am, which will be held Aug. 11-17 at the Atlanta Athletic Club's Highlands Course in John's Creek.

Melnyk (St. Simons), Mitchell (Cleveland, Tenn.) and McCoy (Tarpon Springs, Fla.) won their qualifying tournaments, while Healy came in third in Peachtree Corners and DeMoss placed fifth in Eatonton.

Vinny Giles is the only Bulldog to win the U.S. Am, accomplishing the feat in 1972.

• The PGA Tour is north of the border this week with the RBC Canadian Open in Quebec. Kevin Kisner, Erik Compton, Ryuji Imada and Hudson Swafford are in the field.

• In the British Open last week, Chris Kirk was the top Bulldog as he came in 19th at 6-under. Brian Harman was 26th at 4-under and Brendon Todd was 39th at 1-under. Bubba Watson, Compton, Russell Henley, Harris English and Bryden Macpherson missed the cut.

• Watson is No. 2 in the FedExCup Standings, followed by No. 6 Kirk, No. 7 Todd, No. 12 English and No. 19 Harman.

• The Bulldogs continue to dominate the Rivals Cup with more than $20 million in earnings. Georgia Tech ranks No. 2 with $9.5 million. Watson has eclipsed $5 million, while Todd has $3 million, Kirk has $2.9 million, English has $2.8 million, Harman has $2.4 million, and Henley and Compton have $1.6 million each.

• The Tour stop this week is the Midwest Classic in Overland Park, Kansas. Scott Parel, Paul Claxton, Joey Garber and Justin Bolli are slated to participate.

• In the Albertsons Boise Open last week, Garber placed 10th at 16-under. Parel, Bolli, Imada and Claxton missed the cut. Garber was a Monday qualifier and led the field in fairways hit (43 of 56).

• DeMoss, Nicholas Reach, Sam Straka and Coach Jim Douglas recently filmed a segment for WSB Channel 2 out of Atlanta that will air this week. The Bulldogs shared how fishing in the lake adjacent to Nos. 12 and 13 helps them relax and strengthen team chemistry. The show will air at 10 a.m. Saturday or can be seen online.

• Reach has been chosen as a Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar by the Golf Coaches Association of America. Previous Georgia honorees include Bob Wolcott, Louis Brown, Matt Peterson, Neal Hendee, Mark Northey, Ryan Hybl, David Denham, Kisner, Todd, Harman and English.

• The Bulldogs will join their football counterparts in competition at the end of next month. The golfers are slated to play Aug. 30-Sept. 1 in the Carmel Cup in Pebble Beach, Calif. That is the earliest start for Georgia's golfers in recent history. The Bulldogs will have a total of five fall events, including one in Hawaii in November.

• After Rory McIlroy won the Open Championship, he was asked about next year's Masters, where he'll have a chance to complete a career Grand Slam.  And in part of his answer, McIlroy singled out Augusta National member -- and former Bulldog -- Jeff Knox. Read what he had to say here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

8 Bulldogs To Play In British Open

Bubba Watson answers questions at a British Open press conference earlier this week.

British Open Tee Times
At Royal Liverpool Golf Club
Hoylake, England
Purse: $9.24 million
Yardage: 7,312 yards; Par: 72
All Times EDT


1:25 a.m.-6:26 a.m.: David Howell, England; David Duval, United States; Robert Karlsson, Sweden.

1:36 a.m.-6:37 a.m.: Dawie Van Der Walt, South Africa; Cameron Tringale, United States; Masanori Kobayashi, Japan.

1:47 a.m.-6:48 a.m.: Chris Wood, England; Matt Jones, Australia; Bernd Wiesberger, Austria.

1:58 a.m.-6:59 a.m.: Erik Compton, United States; Kim Hyung-Sung, South Korea; Marc Leishman, Australia.

2:09 a.m.-7:10 p.m.: Koumei Oda, Japan; Ben Martin, United States; Anirban Lahiri, India.

2:20 a.m.-7:21 a.m.: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Thailand; Brooks Koepka, United States; Edoardo Molinari, Italy.

2:31 a.m.-7:32 a.m.: Branden Grace, South Africa; Freddie Jacobson, Sweden; a-Ashley Chesters, England.

2:42 a.m.-7:43 a.m.: Justin Leonard, United States; Ben Curtis, United States; Paul Lawrie, Scotland.

2:53 a.m.-7:54 a.m.: Francesco Molinari, Italy; Ryan Moore, United States; Thorbjorn Olesen, Denmark.

3:04 a.m.-8:05 a.m.: Matteo Manassero, Italy; a-Bradley Neil, Scotland; Mikko Ilonen, Finland.

3:15 a.m.-8:16 a.m.: Thomas Bjorn, Denmark; Patrick Reed, United States; Stewart Cink, United States.

3:26 a.m.-8:27 a.m.: Tom Watson, United States; Jim Furyk, United States; Darren Clarke, Northern Ireland.

3:37 a.m.-8:38 a.m.: Luke Donald, England; Rickie Fowler, United States; Sergio Garcia, Spain.

3:53 a.m.-8:54 a.m.: Harris English, United States; Paul Casey, England; Matt Every, United States.

4:04 a.m.-9:05 a.m.: Tiger Woods, United States; Angel Cabrera, Argentina; Henrik Stenson, Sweden.

4:15 a.m.-9:16 a.m.: Charl Schwartzel, South Africa; Padraig Harrington, Ireland; K.J. Choi, South Korea.

4:26 a.m.-9:27 a.m.: Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland; Hideki Matsuyama, Japan; Jordan Spieth, United States.

4:37 a.m.-9:38 a.m.: Ian Poulter, England; Dustin Johnson, United States; Jimmy Walker, United States.

4:48 a.m.-9:49 a.m.: Graeme McDowell, Northern Ireland; Matt Kuchar, United States; Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa.

4:59 a.m-10 a.m.: Stephen Gallacher, Scotland; Hunter Mahan, United States; Victor Dubuisson, France.

5:10 a.m.-10:11 a.m.: Nick Faldo, England; Todd Hamilton, United States; David Hearn, Canada.

5:21 a.m.-10:22 a.m.: Ryan Palmer, United States; Brett Rumford, Australia; Tomohiro Kondo, Japan.

5:32 a.m.-10:33 a.m.: John Singleton, England; Peter Uihlein, United States; Marc Warren, Scotland.

5:43 a.m.-10:44 a.m.: Paul McKechnie, Scotland; Kristoffer Broberg, Sweden; Juvic Pagunsan, Philippines.

5:54 a.m.-10:55 a.m.: Rhein Gibson, Australia; Brian Harman, United States; Kim Hyung-Tae, South Korea.

6:05 a.m.-11:06 a.m.: Christopher Hanson, England; Oscar Floren, Sweden; Yoshinobu Tsukada, Japan.

6:26 a.m.-1:25 a.m.: James McLeary, Scotland; Matthew Southgate, England; Hiroshi Iwata, Japan.

6:37 a.m.-1:36 a.m.: Roberto Castro, United States; Victor Riu, France; Tyrrell Hatton, England.

6:48 a.m.-1:47 a.m.: Jang Dong-kyu, South Korea, Nick Watney, United States; Shawn Stefani, United States.

6:59 a.m.-1:58 a.m.: D.A. Points, United States; Y.E. Yang, South Korea; Brendan Steele, United States.

7:10 a.m.-2:09 a.m.: Scott Stallings, United States; Pablo Larrazabal, Spain; Bryden Macpherson, Australia.

7:21 a.m.-2:20 a.m.: George Coetzee, South Africa; Charley Hoffman, United States; Michael Hoey, Northern Ireland.

7:32 a.m.-2:31 a.m.: Kevin Streelman, United States; Brendon de Jonge, Zimbabwe; Brendon Todd, United States.

7:43 a.m.-2:42 a.m.: Gary Woodland, United States; Sandy Lyle, Scotland; Kevin Stadler, United States.

7:54 a.m.-2:53 a.m.: Brandt Snedeker, United States; Graham DeLaet, Canada; a-Pan Cheng-Tsung, Taiwan.

8:05 a.m.-3:04 a.m.: Boo Weekley, United States; Danny Willett, England; Ashun Wu, China.

8:16 a.m.-3:15 a.m.: J.B. Holmes, United States; Jonas Blixt, Sweden; Chris Kirk, United States.

8:27 a.m.-3:26 a.m.: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Spain; Bill Haas, United States; Thongchai Jaidee, Thailand.

8:38 a.m.-3:37 a.m.: Martin Kaymer, Germany; Jason Day, Australia; Zach Johnson, United States.

8:54 a.m.-3:53 a.m.: Webb Simpson, United States; Jamie Donaldson, Wales; Yusaku Miyazato, Japan.

9:05 a.m.-4:04 a.m.: Phil Mickelson, United States; Ernie Els, South Africa; Bubba Watson, United States.

9:16 a.m.-4:15 a.m.: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Spain; Russell Henley, United States; Billy Horschel, United States.

9:27 a.m.-4:26 a.m.: Adam Scott, Australia; Justin Rose, England; Jason Dufner, United States.

9:38 a.m.-4:37 a.m.: Ryo Ishikawa, Japan; Lee Westwood, England; Keegan Bradley, United States.

9:49 a.m.-4:48 a.m.: Kevin Na, United States; Joost Luiten, Netherlands; John Senden, Australia.

10 a.m.-4:59 a.m.: John Daly, United States; Tommy Fleetwood, England; Ross Fisher, England.

10:11 a.m.-5:10 a.m.: Mark Wiebe, United States; Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Spain; a-Paul Dunne, Ireland.

10:22 a.m.-5:21 a.m.: Oliver Fisher, England; Chesson Hadley, United States; Shane Lowry, Ireland.

10:33 a.m.-5:32 a.m.: George McNeill, United States; Richard Sterne, South Africa; Chris Stroud, United States.

10:44 a.m.-5:43 a.m.: Gregory Bourdy, France; Jin Jeong, South Korea; Matthew Baldwin, England.

10:55 a.m.-5:54 a.m.: Justin Walters, South Africa; Rhys Enoch, Wales; Billy Hurley III, United States.

11:06 a.m.-6:05 a.m.: Christopher Rodgers, England; Scott Jamieson, Scotland; An Byeong-Hun, South Korea.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Harman Becomes Latest Bulldog To Win On PGA Tour

Brian Harman shows off his John Deere Classic trophy on Sunday.
SILVIS, Ill. (AP) — Brian Harman admitted he felt the pressure.

The 27-year-old, in his third full season on the PGA Tour, hadn't been in the final twosome in the final round until Sunday. The former Bulldog All-American held the lead entering the final round of the John Deere Classic, and looked at the scoreboard after hitting a poor shot into the eighth green.

"I saw the guys were playing well, so that's when I felt it, but I was able to hit three really good shots on No. 9 to birdie, and that kind of got me going," Harman said.

He kept going all the way to his first victory on the Tour, using three straight birdies down the stretch to hold off Zach Johnson by one stroke.

Harman had a 5-under 66 in the final round for a 22-under-262 total to earn $846,000 and the last exemption for next week's British Open. Johnson had the best round of the day at 7-under 64.

"It was very hard, probably one of the hardest things I've ever tried to do in my life," Harman said. "Just trying not to let your mind run wild is the hardest part out there."

Harman is the sixth Bulldog to win on Tour this year, joining Bubba Watson, Harris English, Russell Henley, Chris Kirk and Brendon Todd.

Two years ago, Harman played with Johnson in a late pairing of the Deere that Johnson won, and learned a great deal about how to handle the heat.

"I talked to Zach about it, and he felt I was trying to get out of his way a little too much and that I needed to stake my ground a little bit," Harman said.

He did so Sunday beginning on the par-5 second hole, sinking a 4-foot putt after a 223-yard approach. That jumped him to 19 under and set the tone. His bogey on No. 5 became only a momentary speed bump once he birdied No. 9. He led Johnson and Scott Brown by a stroke at the turn and was ahead by as many as three strokes after his final birdie, a 6-footer on No. 16.

Harman, whose best previous finishes were ties for third place, also earned his first invitations to the Masters and the Tournament of Champions. He tried to block that out along the way.

"When those thoughts enter, it's like what's the best way to get those things you want," Harman said.

He got his third eagle in 19 holes when he eagled the par-5 second for the second straight day. He sank a 4-foot putt after a brilliant approach from 223 yards. A bogey on No. 5 was offset by a birdie on the ninth, the most difficult hole on the front nine. Harman stood 19-under at the turn, and added a birdie at No. 10 to go to 20 under.

Johnson started three strokes behind Harman, but caught him by the 14th hole, when he tapped in from 10 inches for his third birdie in five holes and sixth of the day.

Harman came to the drivable par-4 14th minutes later, and after watching Stricker scramble for a par, got up and down from a greenside bunker with a 14-foot birdie putt. He added birdies on the next two holes to pull away from the field. With a two-shot cushion on the 18th tee, a bogey on the final hole didn't hurt him.

"He's always been known as a gritty player that plays pretty simple golf," Johnson said of Harman, a neighbor on St. Simons Island. "To me it was just a matter of time."

Kevin Kisner came in 20th at 12-under, Henley placed 27th at 10-under and English finished 74th at 1-under. Kirk, Justin Bolli, Ryuji Imada and Hudson Swafford missed the cut.

• Harman got some assistance from a fan on Friday when his caddy became ill. Read about it here.

• Remember to cast your ESPYs vote for Watson for Best Male Golfer. Voting ends at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

• Scott Parel placed 26th in the Tour's Utah Championship at 10-under. Paul Claxton missed the cut.

• The Tour stop this week is the Albertsons Boise Open in Idaho. Claxton, Parel, Imada and Bolli are in the field.

• Sepp Straka was the top Bulldog in the Georgia Amateur Championship at Idle Hour Club in Macon. Straka came in ninth at 1-over 281, six shots out of first. Zach Healy came in 12th at 4-over, followed by Greg Kennedy in 28th at 11-over and Bill Brown III in 56th at 18-over. Mookie DeMoss, Jack Hall, Sam Straka and Zan Banks missed the cut.

• Condolences go out to the family of Tommy Valentine, who passed away on Saturday after a long bout with cancer. He was 64. Valentine starred for the Bulldogs from 1968-71, claiming SEC medalist honors and earning All-America status in 1970. Valentine spent 10 years on the PGA Tour and later was the head pro at Lochmoore Club in Michigan. A memorial service will be held Tuesday at 2 p.m. at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Gainesville, Ga.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Georgia Am To Be Held In Macon This Week

The 93rd version of the Georgia Amateur begins on Thursday at Idle Hour Club in Macon. The field will be made up of 144 of the state's best amateurs, including several with connections to the Bulldogs: Mookie DeMoss, Bill Brown III, Greg Kennedy, Sepp Straka, Sam Straka, Jack Hall, Jack Larkin Jr. and Zach Healy.

• Speaking of the Georgia Am, Golf Georgia has an article on the excitement surrounding the 2008 event due to the play of Harris English and Russell Henley. Read it here.

• Congratulations are in order for Coastal Georgia, which claimed the program's first-ever national title at the recent NAIA Championships. The Mariners are the 30th different team in NAIA history to claim the red banner in the 63-year history of the event. Coastal Georgia is coached by Mike Cook, who was named the NAIA Coach of the Year. Cook lettered for the Bulldogs from 1979-82, earning All-America and All-SEC honors and helping Georgia win the league title his senior year.

• Joey Garber shot a final-round 68 to capture his first professional victory in the Hopkins Tour's Trophy Club Classic in Alpharetta. Garber finished 18-under, good enough for a 5-shot victory. He has had three starts as a professional: the Michigan Open where he finished second, the PGA Tour's Travelers Championship and the Hopkins Tour event.

Garber opened with a 6-under par 66 and followed that up with a sizzling second round of 64 which included an eagle on No. 18, six birdies and 11 pars without a bogey. In his closing round, Garber had five birdies, 12 pars and one bogey. Garber collected $12,000 with the win.

• Lee McCoy placed third at 3-over and Nicholas Reach came in 17th at 7-over in the 53rd Northeast Amateur Invitational at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rhode Island.

• This week at the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic, the field will include Brian Harman, Chris Kirk, Kevin Kisner, Hudson Swafford, Justin Bolli, English, Henley and Ryuji Imada.

• In this week's Utah Championship on the Tour, the field will include Paul Claxton and Scott Parel.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Cromie Wins North & South Am Title

Michael Cromie holds the Putter Boy trophy after winning the North & South Amateur.
In his fourth North & South Amateur appearance, Michael Cromie holed out for eagle from the fairway not once but twice as he ran roughshod over the most dominant player of the week to capture the 114th North & South Amateur Championship at Pinehurst No. 8.

Cromie, a native of nearby Cary, N.C., and an All-American at Georgia, defeated highly regarded amateur Corey Conners 4&3 in the championship round to become the first player in history to win both the North & South Junior Amateur (2007) and the North & South Men’s Amateur.

“I can’t put it into words,” said Cromie while clutching his second Putter Boy trophy. “It’s just unbelievable. The history here in Pinehurst, especially after watching the Opens (recently), it’s just really hard to put into words how cool it is, how special it is, just how grateful I am that it was able to work out in my favor.”
Cromie had a lot to do with it.

After clipping Blair Hamilton 1-up in a dogfight of a match in the morning semifinals, Cromie opened the championship with a lip-out bogey from about three feet, dropping him 1-down immediately. That was nothing new for Conners, who again on Saturday cruised to a match play victory, beating Harley Abrams 6&5. It was the third straight match where Conners did not reach the 16th tee. Cromie, though, made it four straight.

A wayward drive by Conners on the par-5 second allowed Cromie to square the match with a par. A par won the third for Cromie after Conners failed to get up and down, and then a birdie from 8 feet on the fifth gave Cromie a 2-up lead.

With 75 yards and little green to work with for his third shot on the par-5 sixth, Cromie hit a teardrop wedge, which landed softly and gently rolled into the cup for an eagle-3, putting him 3-up.

“That pin is really hard to get close to,” Cromie said. “I was coming in out of an OK lie out of the rough and a bad angle, so I knew I had to hit a perfect shot. I knew I had to hit something really high and soft. And I hit something high and soft.”

Cromie parred the seventh to go 4-up and then got up and down twice on Nos. 8 and 9 to save par and halve the holes to keep the kind of lead Conners had been enjoying throughout the championship.

Then came 10, where Cromie’s ball rested 155 yards from the hole after a perfect drive.

“That green is so firm, and it pitches away from you, so I was just trying to land it in the middle of the green and skip back there,” Cromie said. “I really was just trying to take long out of play, and I caught it a groove low on my pitching wedge. I was actually telling it to get down, but my caddie said, ‘No, I think that’s going to work out pretty good’ before it even landed. And it lands and rolls up there, and I was just like, ‘Oh…My...Gosh.’ I couldn’t believe it went in.”

That put Cromie 5-up, and effectively ended the match.

“It was about then that I had to begin to believe that it was my day,” Cromie said.

“There was nothing I could really do about it,” said Conners, who had built similar leads through 10 in all three of his previous match play matches.

The Men’s North & South Amateur Championship is the longest consecutive-running amateur golf championship in the United States. Over the past century, the best in the golf world have vied for its coveted Putter Boy trophy. The winners now serve as legends in the game -- Francis Ouimet, Billy Joe Patton, Jack Nicklaus, Curtis Strange, Davis Love III and Corey Pavin, among others -- and continues to draw the best in amateur golf circles.

• In the PGA Tour's Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia, Brendon Todd continued his recent hot streak by placing fourth at 9-under. Bubba Watson came in 16th at 7-under, while Chris Kirk was 45th at 3-under and Hudson Swafford was 52nd at 2-under. Brian Harman and Kevin Kisner missed the cut.

• This week at the John Deere Classic, the field will include Harman, Kirk, Kisner, Swafford, Justin Bolli, Harris English, Russell Henley and Ryuji Imada.

• Paul Claxton missed the cut in the Tour's Nova Scotia Open.

• In this week's Utah Championship, the field will include Claxton and Scott Parel.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

5 Bulldogs Seeking Fireworks In West Virginia

The PGA Tour stop this week is The Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia. The Bulldogs who will be celebrating the Fourth of July weekend there will be Brendon Todd, Brian Harman, Kevin Kisner, Hudson Swafford and Bubba Watson (with Ryuji Imada and Justin Bolli listed as alternates. Todd and Watson, in fact, will be paired together for the first two rounds.

• Todd was the top Bulldog at the Quicken Loans National in Maryland last week as he finished fifth at 2-under. Swafford placed 11th at even par, followed by Erik Compton in 46th at 6-over and Kisner in 69th at 9-over. Harman and Russell Henley did not make the cut.

• Paul Claxton will be the lone Bulldog in the Tour's Nova Scotia Open.

• In the United Leasing Championship last week, Claxton came in 11th at 3-under, Scott Parel placed 40th at 1-over, Bolli missed the cut and Imada withdrew.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Garber, McCoy, Cromie Pick Up All-America Honors

Joey Garber was chosen as a First-Team All-American by Golfweek, which also picked Lee McCoy as a Second-Team All-American and Michael Cromie as an Honorable Mention selection.

On the PING All-America lists as released by the Golf Coaches Association of America, Garber was a Second-Team choice and Cromie and McCoy made the Honorable Mention list. 

Earlier, the GCAA named Garber, Cromie, McCoy and Nicholas Reach to its All-Southeast Region Team.

• The PGA Tour stop this week is the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club in Maryland. Erik Compton, Brian Harman, Russell Henley, Kevin Kisner and Brendon Todd are slated to play, and Hudson Swafford is listed as an alternate.

• At the Travelers Championship in Connecticut, Harris English came in seventh at 11-under. Swafford took 24th at 8-under, followed by Bubba Watson in 31st at 6-under and Harman in 42nd at 5-under. Compton, Justin Bolli, Garber and Ryuji Imada missed the cut.

• Garber played in his first PGA Tour event and then discussed it with

• Watson is second, Kirk is seventh, English is eighth and Todd is 10th in this week's FedExCup Standings.

• At the Air Capital Classic in Kansas on the Tour, Paul Claxton came in fifth at 13-under and 2013 champion Scott Parel took 28th at 6-under.

• Bolli, Claxton, Imada and Parel will participate in the United Leasing Championship in Indiana this week.

• Chip Beck came in 59th at even par in the Champions Tour's Encompass Championship in Illinois.

• Wills Smith appeared in the Syncrude Boreal Open on the PGA Tour Canada circuit. However, he missed the cut.