ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — The Georgia men’s golf team finished fifth in the stroke play portion of the Southeastern Conference Championship on Friday to qualify for match play.
The Bulldogs will take on Florida in the first round on Saturday at 8:20 a.m. The additional pairings for match play will be Vanderbilt-Mississippi State, Texas A&M-Tennessee, and LSU-Missouri. The four winners will play Saturday afternoon for a spot in the Sunday final.
“It’s an entirely new tournament now,” Georgia head coach Chris Haack said. “Match play is a tremendous equalizer, so we have to be aggressive and mentally tough with our approach. In match play, good teams and good players never give up. We have to be grinders. We have tremendous respect for Florida, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to open against them.”
On Friday, playing Sea Island Golf Club’s par-70, 7,005-yard Seaside Course, the Bulldogs recorded a 3-over 283 to finish at even-par 840. Vanderbilt finished as the top team at 16-under 824.
Junior Ben van Wyk paced the Bulldogs on Friday with an even-par 70. Senior Trent Phillips and freshmen Buck Brumlow and Maxwell Ford added 1-over 71s. Junior Nicolas Cassidy had Georgia’s non-counting loop of 6-over 76.
Phillips came in fifth individually at 3-under 207, three shots behind medalist John Dubois of Florida. Ford landed in 18th at even-par 210, followed by van Wyk at 2-over 212, Brumlow at 5-over 215, and Cassidy at 10-over 220.
“Getting to match play was the top priority,” van Wyk said. “That’s where the championship is made. We did what we had to do to get here, and we are super excited about it. I feel like we’re a good match play team. We need to all focus on our own game knowing that the team will take care of itself.”
On Saturday, Cassidy will take on Dubois, Brumlow will face Yuxin Lin, Ford will play against Fred Biondi, van Wyk will be paired with Ricky Castillo, and Phillips will square off against Tyler Wilkes.
At the SEC Match Play Presented By Jerry Pate in October, the Bulldogs defeated Kentucky, Tennessee, and LSU, and lost to Vanderbilt. Cassidy and Brumlow had three wins during the tournament, while Ford and van Wyk had 2.5 each, and Phillips posted two.
The match play semifinals will air on SEC Network+ on Saturday from 4:30-7 p.m., while the final will be shown on the SEC Network from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. The broadcasters include Taylor Zarzour, Steve Melnyk, and Peter Burns.