Georgia's Macpherson Leading SEC Championship
Apr 17, 2010 by Georgia Sports Communications
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga.
- Georgia’s Bryden Macpherson admits he’s still learning the nuances of playing team golf and competing for a conference championship. But he took another step in that direction on Friday.
Macpherson, a native of Australia who just joined the Bulldogs in January, grabbed the first-round lead at the Southeastern Conference Championship at Sea Island Golf Club’s Seaside Course Friday. The freshman from Melbourne shot a 3-under-par 67 to share the lead with Arkansas’ Dalton Owens.
“I know all about the importance of winning the national championship, but my teammates have told me that this one is pretty important as well,” Macpherson said. “I’m starting to understand that when you are in a conference as strong as this one that you want to play well and you want to be the winning team at the end. That’s the goal that we all have. We all want to go out and play to the best of our ability and see what happens. I was pleased with the way I played today. I hit the ball really solid all day. I liked the way the golf course was set up. It rewarded good shots. It’s how a golf course should be.”
With Macpherson leading the way, the 14th-ranked Bulldogs posted a team score of 3-over 283 on Seaside’s par-70, 6,991-yard set-up. Georgia trails Arkansas (278) by just five shots and is in sixth place as only six strokes separate the Nos. 1 and 9 teams.
Junior Russell Henley shot an even-par 70 to stand 14th, followed by juniors Rob Bennett and Harris English at 3-over 73 and redshirt freshman T.J. Mitchell at 4-over 74.
For Georgia coach Chris Haack, the 2009-10 season has been something of a roller-coaster ride, primarily due to the shoulder surgery that shelved senior All-American Hudson Swafford for the entire season. Macpherson was one of the four players who joined the team in the winter following Haack’s search for reinforcements. The SECs is just the fifth tournament for Macpherson, who already has a two top-10 finishes and another top-20 effort. Macpherson entered the SECs with a scoring average of 73.92.
“I was pleased with the way Bryden played today,” Haack said. “He’s been very good since he arrived — and he’s done it while adjusting to going to college, playing for a team and living in a new country. I am sure his head is spinning much of the time. But he’s a talented player, and we knew that from seeing him in some amateur events over the years. He did a nice job today, and hopefully he can keep it going.”
As for the Bulldogs, Haack feels the five-shot margin is manageable — it’s the same margin the 1999 team made up in the final round to win the national championship — and their move must start with the the second round on Saturday.
“All in all, the guys struck the ball well today,” Haack said. “We just had a couple of holes per guy that hurt their scoring. But everyone is upbeat and playing with a lot of confidence. I really expect us to go out and play well in the second round.”
The Bulldogs will tee off at 8 a.m on Saturday and will be paired with South Carolina and Mississippi State. Live scoring can be found at golfstat.com.
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