BRADENTON, Fla. — “Now the fun begins.”
That was the sentiment of senior captain Mookie DeMoss on Monday after the Georgia men’s golf team advanced to the match play portion of the NCAA Championships at Concession Golf Club.
The Bulldogs, who finished third in the stroke play portion of the event, will face tournament host South Florida on Tuesday at 7 a.m. on the 10th hole. The Georgia-South Florida winner will take on the Vanderbilt-LSU victor Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.
The other quarterfinal matchups will be Illinois against UCLA and Texas against Southern Cal. The semifinal winners will square off on Wednesday at 2:10 p.m. for the national championship.
This will be the Bulldogs’ third appearance in match play since that format was adopted for the 2009 season. Georgia went 1-1 in 2009 and 2-1 in 2011. Georgia won national championships in 1999 and 2005, both under Coach Chris Haack.
Georgia entered the NCAAs seeded 26th out of 30 teams and ranked 28th and 33rd in the two polls.
“We made it to match play and that was the goal. Now anything can happen,” Haack said. “We’re excited about the opportunity that is in front of us. This group has been a little schizophrenic this year. We’ve been pretty good at times and we’ve been pretty bad at times. I was hoping to see us put it all together at the right time and we did it. We picked a good week to play well.”
The Bulldogs finished stroke play with a four-day total of 6-over 1,158. Illinois took the top spot at 3-over 1,155, while Vanderbilt wound up at 5-over 1,157, and Texas tied the Bulldogs at 6-over 1,158.
Junior Lee McCoy paced the Bulldogs on Monday as he fired a 2-under 70. DeMoss and sophomore Greyson Sigg out of ARC each signed for a 1-over 73, followed by junior Sepp Straka at 3-over 75. Freshman Zach Healy had the Bulldogs’ non-counting score of 5-over 77.
DeMoss came in 11th individually at even-par 288, eight shots shy of NCAA medalist Bryson Dechambeau of SMU. Healy came in 16th at 1-over 289, followed by McCoy at 6-over 294, Straka at 9-over 297 and Sigg at 10-over 298.
“I could not be prouder of my teammates,” McCoy said. “Nobody expected Georgia to challenge for a national championship, yet here we are. We have a group of guys incredibly motivated and determined and playing for each other. There’s no better team chemistry out there than ours.”