The state of Georgia will be represented by three teams in the NCAA Championship, which will be played May 24-29 in Fayetteville. Ark. Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern all advanced to nationals with top-5 finishes in their respective Regionals.
Georgia was one of six teams selected to host a Regional, and the Bulldogs took advantage of the opportunity, winning by seven shots on the UGA course.
The Bulldogs finished with an 8-under 844 total, posting scores of 284-280-280. Duke was second at 851, followed by Vanderbilt (853), SMU (868) and Liberty (870), which got the fifth and final spot at nationals from the Regional, three shots ahead of Tennessee.
Georgia shot even par the first day to lead Vanderbilt by two and Duke by five, with Duke closing within one after 36 holes and Vanderbilt six off the lead. The three teams were the top-seeded trio in the field, with Duke ranked fourth nationally, Vanderbilt ninth and Georgia 16th. Liberty was the No. 4 seed in the field at 22nd nationally, with SMU entering the Regional outside the top 50.
Leading the way for the Bulldogs was sophomore Davis Thompson of St. Simons Island, who earned medalist honors with scores of 69-69-67—205, 8-under par. Thompson finished two strokes ahead oF runner-up Will Gordon of Vanderbilt. After making 11 birdies the first two days over the demanding UGA layout, Thompson was only 1-under after 12 holes in the final round, but birdied three of the last six, capping his individual title with a birdie on the long, par-4 18th.
Spencer Ralston, a junior from Gainesville, matched Thompson’s scores of 69 the first two days, and closed with an even-par 71 to place third individually at 208.
Freshman Trent Phillips, the highest ranked Georgia golfer at No. 20 nationally, tied for 10th at 214 with scores of 72-73-69. After a double bogey on the par-4 fourth hole, Phillips was 2-over early in his final round, but was 4-under the last 12 holes, going eagle-birdie on holes 7 and 8 and birdie-birdie on 16 and 17.
Will Kahlstorf, a freshman from Watkinsville, contributed a counting score of 74 the first day and was the third Bulldog to shoot 69 in the second round. Kahlstorf had a difficult final round, but his score was not needed, as junior Trevor Phillips, Trent’s older brother, carded a 73 after his scores the first two days were not counted.
Helping leads Duke to its runner-up finish was Chandler Eaton, a junior from Alpharetta. Eaton tied for seventh at 212 with scores of 72-69-71.
Georgia Tech placed fourth in the Pullman Regional hosted by Washington, finishing behind Texas A&M, BYU and Oklahoma. Tech came into the Regional ranked eighth in the country, and was the No. 2 seed in Pullman behind No. 5 Oklahoma. A&M was the Regional’s fourth seed, with BYU seeded sixth.
The Yellow Jackets stayed close to the lead for 36 holes, shooting 9-under 271 the first day for third place, two behind A&M and one in back of Oklahoma. Tech remained in third after a 270 in the second round to trail A&M by four and Oklahoma by one.
While the other contenders all shot 271 or better the final day, Tech settled for a 3-under 277, and was challenged the final day by both Colorado State and South Carolina for the final two spots to advance from the Regional.
A&M won with an 807 total followed by BYU (809) and Oklahoma (810). Colorado State and South Carolina tied for fifth at 819 and had to go to a playoff to decide the fifth qualifier from the Regional.
The Yellow Jackets had three individuals place in the top 20, led by junior Andy Ogletree, who tied for 12th at 7-under 203 with scores of 67-66-70. Ogletree, ranked 15th in the country, had a string of four straight birdies in the final round.
Tying for 17th at 204 were junior Luke Schniederjans of Powder Springs, ranked 19th nationally, and freshman Connor Howe. Schniederjans posted scores of 70-66-68, carding four birdies in all three rounds along with an eagle the second day. Howe had an eventful tournament, shooting 66 the first day with six birdies, matching par of 70 in the second round despite a triple bogey and shooting 3-under on the back nine in the final round for a 68 to help Tech hang on to fourth place.
Sophomore Noah Norton shot 68-68-71 and tied for 29th at 207. Junior Tyler Strafaci did not have a score count despite respectable totals of 72-73-73.
Georgia Southern also finished fourth in the Stanford Regional, with the Eagles one of just two teams ranked outside the top 50 to make it to nationals. A total of 30 teams will compete in the NCAA Championship.
The Eagles were in the top five the entire tournament. They shot 2-under 278 the first day for third place, four behind Stanford, and again shot 278 the next day to hold in fourth place, just one shot out a second place tie.
Georgia Southern closed with a third straight 278 to finish at 6-under 834, trailing host Stanford (817), Arizona State (829) and North Carolina (829). Arizona State was the No. 1 seed and ranked second nationally, with Stanford seeded second and UNC the fifth seed. Fourth seed LSU finished fifth at 842.
The Eagles got strong efforts up and down the lineup, led by No. 1 Steven Fisk, a senior from Stockbridge who is ranked 16th in the country. Fisk tied for sixth at Stanford with scores of 71-65-68—204. He recorded a non-bogey round the second day and went 4-under on the three par 5s at Stanford GC in the final round.
Fisk was joined in the top 10 by Jake Maples, a junior from McDonough. Maples shot 67-71-68 to finish ninth at 206. Freshman Colin Bowles of Albany, who won the Georgia Amateur while still in high school, tied for 16th at 210 with scores of 69-71-70, carding six birdies in the opening round.
Ben Carr of Columbus, one of two freshmen in the starting lineup, shot 71-71-72 to tie for 35th at 214, with junior Brett Barron right behind at 215 with scores of 72-71-72. Barron’s opening 72 was the only non-counting score for the Eagles in the Regional, with the team carding four 71s the second day to back Fisk, and the 72s the final day for Carr and Barron the highest counting scores for Southern.
The Eagles, seeded 10th in the Regional, will be competing at nationals for the first time since 2010.
Augusta also competed in the Stanford Regional, but the Jaguars finished last in the 13-team field.
NCAA WOMEN’S REGIONALS: Three Georgia teams qualified for NCAA Women’s Regionals, but none came close to a top-6 finish needed reach nationals.
Georgia and Augusta competed in the East Lansing Regional, with Georgia finishing in 12th and Augusta tying for 14th out of 18 teams. Kennesaw State was 14th out of 18 teams in the Auburn Regional.
No Georgia golfer finished among the top 30 individually, with freshmen Jo Hua Hung and Harmie Constantino tying for 33rd at 231. Constantino shot 71 in the second round and Hung shot 71 the next day, the team’s only scores lower than the 74 shot the final day by Lawrenceville freshman Jenny Bae.
Roswell’s Rinko Mitsunaga completed a disappointing senior season, with a first round 77 her only score to count. Georgia finished with a 903 total, 20 strokes out of a top-6 finish.
Augusta shot 911 for the tournament, with junior Linda Lundqvist tying for 37th at 224. No other Augusta player finished in the top 50.
Kennesaw shot 905 to finish well back in the Auburn Regional. Senior Roanne Tomlinson shot 69 in the second round and tied for 21st at 219. No other Kennesaw golfer was in the top 50.