Auburn, Georgia lead after Day 1
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. --- Auburn and Georgia stood tied for the team lead after one round of the Southeastern Conference Men's Golf Championship on Wednesday at Sea Island Golf Club.
On the Seaside Course's par-70, 7,005-yard layout, the No. 13 Tigers and the No. 16 Bulldogs each landed at 8-under 272. 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.
Vanderbilt's Will Gordon and Georgia's Trent Phillips - who rank 1-2 in the league in scoring average, respectively - were tied atop the individual leaderboard at 5-under 65. Arkansas' Julian Perico is one shot back at 4-under 66, followed by Georgia's Spencer Ralston, Kentucky teammates Cullan Brown and Maximillian Mehles, Ole Miss' Jack Gnam, and Auburn's Graysen Huff all at 3-under 67.
Following Huff at 3-under 67, Jovan Rebula and Brandon Macheno came in ninth at 2-under 68, while Trace Crowe landed in 15th at 1-under 69 for Auburn.
"The team played well today and played real hard for each other," Auburn head coach Nick Clinard said. "They are in a great state of mind and I'm excited to watch them the remainder of the week."
After Phillips and Ralston, Georgia counted a 1-under 69 from Davis Thompson and a 1-over 71 by Trevor Phillips.
"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."
Vanderbilt's Gordon had a bogey-free round and logged his five birdies between Nos. 6-12.
"I thought I stayed really patient today with my ball striking and was able to pick some spots to get it close to the hole," Gordon said. "I got some confidence with the putter that got my round going in the middle and my lag putting kept it a really stress-free round."
Georgia's 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, Gordon and Trent Phillips were the only SEC golfers 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.