May 21, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia men's golf team will begin its quest for the program's third national title this week in the NCAA Championships at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas.
The national tournament is slated for Friday through Wednesday with an adjusted format in place.
Team stroke play will take place Friday through Sunday, with the top eight squads after 54 holes qualifying for match play. On Monday, the top 40 individuals plus ties will complete the 72-hole tournament to determine national medalist honors. The match play quarterfinals and semifinals are slated for Tuesday and the championship match is scheduled for Wednesday.
"I think we can expect an exciting tournament," Coach Chris Haack said. "All the teams have talent and the ones at the top are especially deep. The player who claims medalist honors and the team that survives stroke play and match play definitely will have earned it. We've got a shot to be successful, but we know we have to be at our best in every round."
The Bulldogs, who are seeded sixth and are ranked No. 3 by Golfweek and No. 6 by Golfstat and Golf World, will tee off on Friday in 10-minute increments between 1:40 and 2:20 p.m. and on Saturday between 8:20 and 9:00 a.m. Georgia will be paired with fourth-seeded Georgia Tech and fifth-seeded California in the first two rounds. Sunday's pairings will be determined by the 36-hole results.
The Bulldogs will use a lineup of seniors Michael Cromie, Joey Garber and Keith Mitchell, sophomore Lee McCoy, and freshman Greyson Sigg. Garber leads the Bulldogs with a 70.66 scoring average, followed by McCoy at 71.34, Cromie at 71.97, Sigg at 72.96 and Mitchell at 73.00. Garber, McCoy and Cromie all have individual victories this season.
The Golf Channel To Televise NCAAs
The Golf Channel will air live coverage from Monday's medalist finale as well as the semifinal match play pairings on Tuesday and the championship final Wednesday. In addition, the Golf Channel will be onsite beginning on Sunday to provide coverage on Golf Central, Morning Drive and GolfChannel.com.
Live scoring and tee times for the NCAAs also can be found at Golfstat.com and NCAA.com.
Bulldogs Dominate At San Antonio Regional
The Bulldogs qualified for the NCAAs by winning the San Antonio Regional at Briggs Ranch Golf Club. Georgia wound up at 11-under 853 to post a 13-shot decision over Georgia State. Lee McCoy paced the Bulldogs with a second-place individual finish.
Georgia advanced to the NCAAs for the 19th time in 25 years since the regionals format was adopted. Under Coach Chris Haack, the Bulldogs have made it to the NCAAs 16 of 18 seasons. Overall, this is Georgia's 45th berth in the NCAAs.
Georgia Claimed NCAA Titles In 1999 And 2005
The Bulldogs boast two NCAA team titles in their history. The squad of Ryuji Imada, Nick Cassini, Michael Morrison, Jeremy Parrott and Mark Northey claimed the 1999 national championship at Hazeltine Golf Club. The 2005 team of Kevin Kisner, Richard Scott, Brendon Todd, Chris Kirk and David Denham snared the national championship at Caves Valley Golf Club. The 2007 and 2011 Georgia teams each came in second. In 1946, George Hamer claimed medalist honors at the NCAAs - the only Bulldog to accomplish that feat. Imada and Kirk were NCAA runnersup.
Conference Calls For Bulldogs
Seniors Michael Cromie and Joey Garber were named First-Team All-Southeastern Conference in voting by the league's coaches. Sophomore Lee McCoy earned Second-Team All-SEC honors, while freshman Greyson Sigg was chosen for the SEC All-Freshman Team and senior Keith Mitchell was placed on the SEC Community Service Team.
Georgia Has Notched Four Wins This Season
With their victory in the San Antonio Regional, the Bulldogs now have four wins this season. The Bulldogs previously won the Dick's Sporting Goods Collegiate Challenge Cup in September, the Linger Longer Invitational in March and the Met Intercollegiate in April. The 2001 and 2006 squads share the school record of six wins, while the 1978, 1982 and 2007 teams rolled up five each.
Haack Now Boasts 53 Wins As UGA's Coach
Georgia's win in the Dick's Sporting Goods Collegiate Challenge Cup was the 50th in Coach Chris Haack's career. The three since then pushed his total to 53 and extended his own school record for the most among golf coaches.
"I am extremely humbled to reach a milestone like this," Haack said. "It means a lot to bring this recognition to Georgia. I can't help but think about all the fantastic players we've had through the years who helped get us to this point. I've also been blessed to have great assistants in Jim Douglas, Ryan Hybl and Jason Payne, who did such a tremendous job with recruiting and coaching. I know my name gets written down with this, but this is truly a team effort. It's something that I share with all of them."
PGA Tour? How About UGA Tour?
The Bulldogs have been dominant on the PGA Tour this season, led by five different winners -- Bubba Watson at The Masters and the Northern Trust Open, Chris Kirk in The McGladrey Classic, Harris English at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, Russell Henley in The Honda Classic and Brendon Todd in the Byron Nelson Championship. (And for good measure, Harris English teamed up with Matt Kuchar to win the Franklin Templeton Shootout and Kevin Kisner won the Pebble Beach Invitational -- each of which featured an all-star format.)
Watson now has six PGA Tour wins, the highest total among all the former Bulldogs.
Following Todd's win in the Nelson Championship, Watson ranked second in the FedExCup Standings, while English was seventh, Kirk was eighth, Todd was 11th and Henley was 30th.
Georgia's golfers have earned $16.1 million this season. That's twice as much as second-place Georgia Tech's $8 million, according to Rivals Cup. Watson leads the Bulldogs with $4.5 million, followed by English with $2.5 million, Kirk with $2.4 million, Todd with $2 million, Henley with $1.6 million and Brian Harman with $1.1 million.
The Bulldogs on Tour to a man credit Haack's system of having the players qualify each week to make the Georgia lineup for events.
"Pretty much every day while they were here, we had them in a pressure cooker and had them in situations where they were always having to perform," Haack said. "They really never had a free ride into playing. They were always very used to the competition, and at some point they learned how to handle it. In some form or fashion, they embraced that, and it's helped them be more successful."
Bulldogs Excel In The Classroom, Too
The Bulldogs have been successful off the course as well. Georgia earned a perfect score of 1,000 in the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) to rank first in the SEC. The Academic Progress Rate, now in its ninth year, measures the eligibility, retention and graduation of student-athletes competing on every Division I sports team. It also serves as a predictor of graduation success. The most recent APR scores are multi-year rates based on the scores from the 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13 academic years.