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Bulldogs Set to Open NCAA Play at Austin Regional



Ryan Cullinane

Sports Communications Graduate Assistant

University of Georgia Athletic Association


Georgia’s quest for its third national title will begin in Austin, Texas. Since the 2006-07 season, the Bulldogs have placed first in the regional round six times, most recently winning the 2023 NCAA Bath Regional led by van Wyk's first-place finish. The championship structure was moved to the regional format in the 1988-89 season.

 

The Bulldogs were invited to a Regional for the 28th straight year and for the 34th time in 35 seasons (missing in 1995 and excluding 2020 as the postseason was canceled). The Bulldogs have advanced from the Regional to the NCAAs 25 times.

 

The program is headed to its 27th Regional under head coach Chris Haack and has moved onto the NCAAs 22 times under his leadership. Haack led the Bulldogs to the 1999 and 2005 national titles, to runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2011, and the national semifinals in 2015. 

 

Joining the fourth-seeded Bulldogs are No. 1 Tennessee, No. 2 Arkansas, host No. 3 Texas, No. 5 Wake Forest, No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 7 UNC-Greensboro, No. 8 BYU, No. 9 Utah, No. 10 San Jose State, No. 11 Grand Canyon, No. 12 Arkansas State and No. 13 Kansas City.

 

Last Time Out:  Georgia most recently finished in the quarterfinals of match play at the SEC Championships in St Simons Island on April 27, falling to Arkansas by a 3-2 result.  The team finished tied for fourth in the stroke play portion of the tournament after shooting 11-under-par, 829. 

 

Smith earned 15 birdies across the three rounds of stroke play, which tied him with Matthew Ridel for the second-most of any golfer in the field. Brumlow finished tied for the second-most pars in the field with 41. With five birdies, the junior earned par or better in 46 of the 54 holes.

 

The Bulldogs were paced by van Wyk during the third round, carding a one-under 69 with a pair of birdies on the final three holes to close out the rounds. The graduate student also shot 68 during the first round, upping his number of rounds in the 60s this season to 14 which leads the team. 

 

Georgia led the field in scoring average on par 5s at 4.47 per hole, good for 16-under across the three rounds. Smith earned the best average in the statistic for the Bulldogs at an average of 4.17 per par 5, totaling five-under. The program advanced to match play for the fourth time in the past five SEC Championships.

 

Dawgs in the Polls: On the Scoreboard Powered by Clippd rankings that were refreshed on Thursday, May 9, Georgia stands at No. 20 in the team rankings. Van Wyk leads the team with a No. 46 ranking, fellow grad student Creasy comes in at No. 121 while junior Brumlow rounds out the Bulldogs in the top 150 at No. 130.

 

In the PGA TOUR University rankings, van Wyk stands just outside the top 25 at No. 26, with Creasy at No. 43 while Manuel sits at No. 58.

 

Van Wyk, Smith Earn All-SEC Nods: Van Wyk secured a spot on the All-SEC Second Team, while Smith was selected on the All-SEC Freshman Team the league office announced on May 10.

 

This marks van Wyk's first All-SEC award and is now the 46th Bulldog across 50 total selections on the All-SEC Second Team. All told, Georgia has 109 recognitions across the first and second all-conference teams in program history. Similarly, Smith is now the eighth Georgia player to earn a spot on the All-SEC Freshman Team and the fourth Bulldog represented on the team in the last seven seasons. 

 

Van Wyk is coming off his best collegiate season as the senior finished the year with a 70.2 stroke average, which ranks as the sixth-best single-season average in program history. The 2024 Dick Copas Award winner earned five top-10 finishes during the 2023-24 campaign and a team-best 14 rounds in the 60s. A graduate student, van Wyk's best result came in the final event of the regular season at the Calusa Cup, placing tied for second with a five-under, 211 total.

 

In his first collegiate season, Smith earned a pair of top-10 results with a t-6th finish at the Linger Longer Invitational and in t-7th during stroke play of the SEC Championships. In the team's most recent event during the conference title in St Simon's Island, Smith led the individual standings after the first round at five-under 65 and finished tied for the second most birdies in the field with 15.

 

Creasy Springs Forward: Creasy, a native of Abingdon, Va., has saved some of his best golf for his final collegiate semester. Including the team’s final event of the fall at the Ka’anapali Collegiate Classic, the graduate student capped off the regular season with six consecutive top-20 finishes. Creasy’s best event of the season thus far came at the Puerto Rico Classic in February, where he finished tied for third place at 14-under, leading the team to its first tournament win of the year and earning him the first SEC Golfer of the Week recognition of his career. 

 

Van Wyk Named to Arnold Palmer Cup Team: Graduate van Wyk earned a spot on the International Team for the 2024 Arnold Palmer Cup, it was announced live on the Golf Channel on Tuesday, April 23.

 

This marks van Wyk’s first selection into the event, which will be played July 5-7 at Lahinch Golf Club in Lahinch, Ireland. He is the first Bulldog to participate in the Arnold Palmer Cup since Trent Philips helped lead Team USA to a win in 2021.

 

The Palmer Cup uses a Ryder Cup-style format and pits American and international collegiate golfers against each other in a team-style tournament. The United States leads the all-time series, 14-12-1.

 

Van Wyk leads the team in both the Scoreboard Powered by Clippd and PGA TOUR U individual rankings at No. 46 and No. 24 respectively. The George, South Africa native has consistently played at a high level in his final year of college golf, earning five top-10 finishes in nine tournaments this season. He was named the SEC Golfer of the Week on April 3 and ranks first among Bulldogs in both average score per round (70.21) and average score versus par (-1.04).

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