ST. SIMONS ISLAND — Georgia fired a 5-under-par 275 in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Men’s Golf Championship on Wednesday and opened a two-shot advantage over second-place Tennessee.
Playing Sea Island Golf Club’s par-70, 7,005-yard layout on the Seaside Course, the Bulldogs placed three players in the top 10 and another in the top 15 to take the Day 1 lead. The Volunteers signed for a 3-under 277 and Arkansas posted a 2-under 278.
“This was a really successful first day for us,” Georgia head coach Chris Haack said. “Everyone seemed to play very solid today. It was true team effort from all the guys. I am hoping for a few more days like this the rest of the week.”
Fomer Gainesville High standout and fifth-year Spencer Ralston and senior Davis Thompson paced the Bulldogs on Wednesday as they each recorded 2-under 68s. Ralston and Thompson are in the group tied for fifth, four shy of Arkansas’ Segundo Pinto, who opened with a 6-under 64. Tennessee’s Spencer Cross and LSU’s Connor Gaunt are tied for second at 5-under 65, while Mississippi State’s Austin Fulton is alone in fourth at 4-under 66.
Ralston turned at 1-under on the strength of birdies on the fourth and ninth holes, both par 4s. He added another birdie on the par-3 12th. Thompson bogeyed his second hole and remained 1-over through 14 holes. On the par-5 15th, he posted an eagle, then he added a birdie on the par-3 17th.
“I played very solid,” Ralston said. “I hit a lot of fairways and greens and kept myself out of trouble, which is a big key out here.The wind and the pins made for tough scoring conditions, but I felt like I played a very effortless round that was stress free."
“I had to stay patient all day,” Thompson said. “I got off to a slow start, but I was able to make some putts coming in.”
Sophomore Connor Creasy, making his SECs debut, added a 1-under 69 for 10th and junior Trent Phillips registered an even-par 70 for 15th. Junior Eli Scott, also an SECs rookie, posted a 1-over 71.
The stroke play portion of the tournament will continue Thursday and will conclude 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 semifinals, while the championship match will air on the SEC Network.
Georgia will tee off on Thursday between 9:10 and 9:50 a.m. and will be paired with Tennessee and Arkansas.