April 19, 2013
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. --- On the strength of a 4-under 66 from Nicholas Reach, the Georgia men's golf team landed in third place following the first round of the Southeastern Conference Championship on Friday at Sea Island Golf Club.
The Bulldogs, who are ranked 13th and seeded third, fired a 1-over 281 on the par-70, 7,055-yard layout on the Seaside Course. Auburn has the team lead at 5-under 275 and South Carolina is second at 1-under 279.
"I thought it was a pretty solid round of golf," Georgia coach Chris Haack said. "This golf course is not very easy, and to shoot around even par is not too bad. It keeps us in it. The way the winds blow, you can shoot yourself out of it. But the guys stayed strong and played well. ... With this tournament, it all comes down to the last day. We need to keep it somewhere within striking distance. Anything can happen that last day. Right now, we're in a pretty good spot and we're looking forward to getting out there and doing it again (Saturday)."
Reach, a sophomore from Moscow, Pa., posted birdies on the par-5 seventh, the par-3 12th and the par-4 14th. He then converted an eagle on the par-5 15th covering 565 yards. Reach is in a three-way tie for second place, just one shot behind South Carolina's Caleb Sturgeon (5-under 65). Eleven players shot under par on Friday, despite Seaside's typically windy conditions.
"It feels good, but there's still a lot of golf to be played," Reach said. "It was a good round. I've been playing pretty well lately and I've been waiting for everything to click in one day. ... It was just a matter of making a couple of putts today. The greens are really good this week, and if you get one started online, it's pretty easy to make them."
The Bulldogs also counted even-par 70s from junior Keith Mitchell and sophomore Sam Straka, who are 12th, as well as a 5-over 75 from freshman Lee McCoy. Senior T.J. Mitchell had the Bulldogs' non-counting score of 7-over 77.
The Bulldogs will tee off on Saturday in 10-minute increments between 9:10 and 9:50 a.m. Three-hole scoring can be found at bamagolf.com and golfstat.com.