TrentPhillips

Georgia's Trent Phillips during the third round of the NCAA Championships at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Sunday, May 30, 2021. (Photo by Steven Colquitt)

The Georgia men's golf team started off its season off in Pebble Beach, California, for The Carmel Cup. The Bulldogs finished sixth overall in the competition with senior Trent Phillips finishing second overall as Georgia’s individual leader.

After an electric run throughout the 2020 season, the Bulldogs began without a couple of key contributors from last year's team. Former senior David Thompson and fifth-year golfer Spencer Ralston must now be replaced in the starting lineup.

Thompson ended 2020 as the SEC Player of the Year and won the Tiger Invitational as well as the Tallahassee Regional to help Georgia advance to the NCAA Championships. Ralston appeared in 50 of 51 possible tournaments in his college career and earned three top-20 finishes in the fall of 2020.

"It just means that the next guy's got to step up and replace those guys and so far, so good," head coach Chris Haack said. "This is a whole new group and some good young talented guys and so I'm excited about getting out there with what is going to be a new slate of guys for the whole year."

During last year's NCAA Championships, getting used to some of the harsh weather conditions in the midwest was a struggle for the team. When the team traveled farther west for the tournament in Pebble Beach, the team was ready for any of the unusual climate conditions in California.

"I think the experience we had out there and most of us playing a few times out west, we should have a general idea of how far the ball is going to go," said senior Eli Scott.

Before the 2020 season, Georgia entered the year ranked as the fifth-best team in the nation, according to the Golf Coaches Association of America. After a great run throughout the year where the Bulldogs took home the win in the SEC Championship and finished second in the NCAA Regionals, a lackluster performance in the NCAA Championship led to the team’s 2021 preseason ranking to fall to 14.

Entering this season, the coaches and players have high hopes to bring the championship trophies home this year, and they believe they can do so.

"Obviously, the end goal would be to win a national championship, the SEC Championship first, then the national championship,” said senior Will Kahlstorf. “But, if we play well and all play solid in each tournament, I think that will take care of itself."