Macon, GA - Unlike their counterparts in many other sports, golfers do not have the luxury of halftime adjustments or locker-room pep talks from coaches.
On Friday at the Brickyard Collegiate Championship, it appeared that the sixth-ranked Georgia men’s golf team could use one – or both – of those. The Bulldogs reached “halftime” by making the turn at 8-over par, placing them well down on the team leaderboard.
But the Bulldogs rallied with a strong second half, posting a score of 9-under on the back nine to rally all the way into first place at 1-under 287. Georgia is one shot better than North Florida's even-par 288.
“On the first nine, it looked like we were trying to see how ugly we could make it,” Georgia coach Chris Haack said with a laugh. “But they guys really hung in there. They maintained their composure and their focus to really get it going on the back nine. A nine like that makes you look forward to the next day.”
Senior All-Americans Harris English and Hudson Swafford led the second-half surge. English posted a 6-under 30 on the back nine on the strength of an eagle and four birdies. Swafford pitched in a 4-under 32, recording five birdies.
Swafford is tied atop the individual leaderboard at 4-under 68, while English is one shot back at 3-under 69.
“That’s the kind of play you expect from the leaders of your team,” Haack said. “They put us on their backs and made something happen down the stretch.”
Senior and Macon native Russell Henley signed for an even-par 72 and he is 13th. The Bulldogs also counted a 6-over 78 from sophomore T.J. Mitchell. Freshman Keith Mitchell rounded out the Bulldogs’ lineup with a 10-over 82. Playing as individuals, senior Rob Bennett posted a 6-over 78 and sophomore Scott McAlpine had a 12-over 84.
The Brickyard Collegiate Championship will continue on Saturday and will conclude on Sunday. Georgia will open the second round at 10:10 a.m. with its counterparts from North Florida and Augusta State. Live scoring can be found at golfstat.com, while additional information can be found at brickyardcollegiate.org.