The Georgia men’s golf team 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 today 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. ‘ 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. ‘0 seed Idaho, No. ” seed St. Mary’s College of California, No. ‘2 seed Wichita State and No. ‘3 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.
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 ‘989 season. In the previous 25 years, Georgia has advanced to the NCAAs ‘9 times. The Bulldogs have been invited to an NCAA Regional in all 9 of Haack’s seasons and have moved onto the NCAAs in 6 of the previous 8 campaigns. Haack led the Bulldogs to the ‘999 and 2005 national titles and to runner-up finishes in 2007 and 20”.
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 what¹s at stake,” Haack said. “In the past, when it was three Regionals and 0 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.”