Bulldogs Reach Semifinals Of NCAA Championship
Unable to recapture its magic from earlier in the day, Georgia was eliminated from the NCAA Championship in the match play semifinals at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.
The eighth-seeded Bulldogs dropped a 3-1-1 decision to fourth-seeded Arkansas, which fell to seventh-seeded Texas A&M on the final day for the national championship.
In the quarterfinals, the Bulldogs defeated the No. 1 seed, Oklahoma State, as the match came down to the last hole. Senior Brian Harman's 4-foot putt lifted the Bulldogs to a dramatic 3-2 win over the Cowboys, in a match that pitted the teams that finished the year ranked Nos. 1 and 2.
"It was such an emotional day for us," Georgia coach Chris Haack said. "That first match really took a lot out of us, but that's the way it goes. Arkansas played great and deserved to win. We might not have the trophy, but we won the national championship in our minds in the morning. That match will be etched in our memory forever. I'm not taking anything away from Arkansas or Texas A&M, but that was 'the match' right there."
Harman and the Cowboys' Rickie Fowler put an exhibition that will join the lore of the historic Inverness Club. Harman birdied the last three holes, including No. 17 to square the match and No. 18 to win it. That was his only lead of the day. Afterward, Inverness officials asked if they could have the golf ball so that they could add it a display that includes items from the likes of Bob Tway and Paul Azinger.
"That was unbelievable theater," Haack said. "That was two of the best players in college golf; that was a clash of the titans. On the 18th tee box, Brian turned to me and said, 'I'm not ready to go home yet.' That was one of the gutsiest performances I've ever seen." The Bulldogs also got victories from Adam Mitchell (5 & 3) and Russell Henley (2 up) to top Oklahoma State.
In the semifinals, however, the Bulldogs were unable to knock off their SEC counterparts. Henley won his match 2 and 1, and Harman squared his in the 3-1-1 loss.
Five Bulldogs Named All-Americans
Five Georgia players were selected for All-America honors by PING and the Golf Coaches Association of America.
Senior Brian Harman, junior Hudson Swafford and sophomore Russell Henley were named Second Team, sophomore Harris English was chosen for the Third Team, and senior Adam Mitchell was selected as Honorable Mention.
This is just the fourth time in school history that five Bulldogs earned All-America honors. Georgia did so in 2001 with Nick Cassini, Bryant Odom, Erik Compton, Ryan Hybl and David Miller; in 2005 (a national championship year) with Chris Kirk, Brendon Todd, David Denham, Kevin Kisner and Richard Scott; and in 2006 with Kirk, Harman, Todd, Kisner and Scott.
Harman and Mitchell ended their Georgia careers as three-time All-Americans.
English, Harman, Henley, Mitchell and Swafford also were named to the PING All-Southeast Region Team.
Conference Calls For Bulldogs
Brian Harman, Hudson Swafford, Harris English and Russell Henley were named First-Team All-Southeastern Conference by the league's coaches.
Adam Mitchell earned Second-Team All-SEC honors, meaning the five members of the lineup picked up conference recognition. In addition, Rob Bennett was selected for the SEC Community Service Team.
Haack Closing In On Record
The SEC Championship was the 41st team title for Georgia under Coach Chris Haack's watch. Haack's predecessor, Hall-of-Famer Dick Copas, led the Bulldogs to a school-record 44 victories from 1971-96.
Since Haack took over for the 1996-97 campaign, he has led Georgia to at least one win in 11 of the 13 seasons. His 2001 and 2006 teams set the school record for single-season wins with six, while he also guided the 2007 and 2009 Bulldogs to five victories. Haack has piloted the Bulldogs to six conference titles among his 41 wins.
Henley Earns National, SEC Honors
Russell Henley was selected as the National Player of the Week by Golfweek and the Southeastern Conference Golfer of the Week on Nov. 13. Henley led the Bulldogs to the team title at the Isleworth Invitational in Windermere, Fla., as he claimed medalist honors for the second time in his career. The sophomore posted a score of 4-under-par 212 - including a second-round 5-under 67 - to notch a two-shot victory. He paced the Bulldogs as they wound up 17 shots ahead of Alabama.
Henley notched a ninth-place finish at the Brickyard Collegiate Championship in his hometown of Macon to lead the Bulldogs to that team title as well.
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