ST. SIMONS ISLAND — Paced by tournament leader Trent Phillips, the Georgia men’s golf team grabbed the first-round advantage on Wednesday at the Southeastern Conference Championship at Sea Island Golf Club.
On the Seaside Course’s par-70, 7,005-yard layout, the No. 16 Bulldogs landed a 8-under 272 and in a tie with Auburn. Ole Miss and Kentucky each signed for a 5-under 275, followed by Vanderbilt at 3-under 277, and South Carolina at 1-under 279.
Phillips, a freshman, and Vanderbilt’s Will Gordon were tied atop the individual leaderboard at 5-under 65. Arkansas’ Julian Perico is one shot back at 4-under 66, followed by Georgia junior and former Gainesville High standout Spencer Ralston, Kentucky teammates Cullan Brown and Maximillian Mehles, Ole Miss’ Jack Gnam, and Auburn’s Graysen Huff all at 3-under 67.
After Phillips and Ralston, Georgia posted a 1-under 69 from sophomore Davis Thompson (in 15th) and a 1-over 71 by junior Trevor Phillips. Freshman Will Kahlstorf had the Bulldogs’ non-counting score of 4-over 74.
“It was nice to see us get off to a decent start,” Georgia head coach Chris Haack said. “Everyone kept their composure and stayed patient, and that’s what you have to do on this golf course. Our message for Thursday is to do the same thing -- go out, have fun, relax, and enjoy the ride.”
Trent Phillips found three birdies on each side, including consecutive ones on Nos. 15-17.
“This is a course you have to play for what it is,” Phillips said. “You can’t cut corners or take risks because it’s not worth it. You have to play solid and play the course for what it gives you. … I thought our team came out ready to play. We stuck with what we’ve been doing, especially our wedge game, and it really paid off today.”
Late Tuesday, Phillips was listed among the 15 players on the April Haskins Award Watch List. The Haskins Award is presented annually by the Haskins Commission to honor the most outstanding collegiate golfer in the United States.
The stroke-play portion of the SEC Championship will continue on Thursday and Friday. The top eight teams after 54 holes will advance to match play, with the quarterfinals and the semifinals slated for Saturday, followed by the finals on Sunday. SEC Network + will have digital coverage of the semifinal, while the championship match will air on the SEC Network.
The individual medalist and the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year also will be recognized on Friday.
Georgia will tee off between 9:10 and 9:50 a.m. Thursday with Auburn and Ole Miss.