Aggie Men’s Golf Takes Aim at SEC ChampionshipSports Friday, April 21st, 2017
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – The Aggie men’s golf team begins postseason play this weekend as it aims for a conference title during the 2017 SEC Championship which begins Friday at Sea Island Golf Club’s Seaside Course.
“I think our guys are hungry to get out there,” Texas A&M head coach J.T. Higgins said. “Our goal right now is to qualify for Sunday’s matchup. These guys are fired up. We finished second last season and feel like we have a pretty good grasp on the golf course. It’s supposed to be windy and we’ve been playing in wind all spring, so I feel like that puts us in pretty good shape.”
Sea Island Golf Club, which will host the SEC Championship for the 17th year, has been named the No. 4 golf resort in the United States and hosted multiple USGA events in addition to the PGA Tour’s McGladrey Classic. The par-70, 7,055-yard Seaside Course was named one of the top 100 courses in the U.S. by Golf Digest and has been the site of the SEC Championship and since 2010.
The SEC Championship will take on a different format from previous seasons as the event tees off with 36 holes of competition on Friday to be followed by a third round of 18 holes Saturday. After the 54 holes of stroke play, an individual champion will be crowned and the top eight teams advance to the head-to-head match play portion of the event. The quarterfinals and semifinals take place on Sunday before the championship matchup tees off Monday morning.
“This new format helps us with a lot of things,” Higgins added. “It helps us get ready for NCAAs and it’s easier to follow and gives more exposure for our conference. Whenever you get to play head-to-head instead of against an entire field, I think it benefits for our sport. We are hoping for at least some television coverage because it’s so much easier than the stroke play to see what’s going on.”
The strength of the conference will be on display at the event as 12 of the 14 schools (No. 2 Vanderbilt, No. 3 LSU, No. 6 Florida, No. 18 Texas A&M, No. 20 Auburn, No. 21 Ole Miss, No. 23 Georgia, No. 27 Missouri, No. 28 Arkansas, No 34 South Carolina, No. 37 Alabama and No. 45 Kentucky) competing in the event appear in the top 50 of the April 18 edition of the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. The conference also boasts an individual field of 25 of the top 100 golfers in the country.
Leading the Aggies into the event will be junior Cameron Champ and sophomore Chandler Phillips. The duo has a combined for 13 top-10 finishes on the season and is ranked among the elilte golfers in the country with Phillips checking in at No. 21 according to Golfweek/Sagarin while Champ is slotted at No. 29.
This year the Aggies have carded four second-place finishes and have brought home four induvial titles. During last season’s trip to the SEC Championships the Aggies captured second place, finishing just three strokes behind champion Georgia. Phillips led the A&M contingent with a tie for fifth place individually.
“If you put yourself in contention week after week you’d like to think that eventually you’re going to knock the door down,” Higgins said. “We want to be the best team in April and May and I feel like we’ve gotten better through this season. We’ve got a good shot, [because] when we are playing our best golf we can play with anybody in the country.”
Texas A&M will begin teeing off its opening round at the championship Friday morning at 9:10 a.m. (CT). Live scoring for the event can be found on GolfStat.com and live updates are available on twitter via @AggieMensGolf.
Texas A&M head coach JT HigginsJTHiggins_0418.mp3
Aggie golfer Andrew PaysseAPaysse_0418.mp3
Aggie golfer Brandon SmithBSmith_0418.mp3
Aggie golfer Cameron ChampCChamp_0418.mp3
2017 SEC MEN’S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
April 21-24, 2017
St. Simons Island, Ga.
Sea Island Golf Club – Seaside Course (par 70 / 7,055 yards)
The Field (14 teams – Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings 4/18): No. 2 Vanderbilt, No. 3 LSU, No. 6 Florida, No. 18 Texas A&M, No. 20 Auburn, No. 21 Ole Miss, No. 23 Georgia, No. 27 Missouri, No. 28 Arkansas, No 34 South Carolina, No. 37 Alabama, No. 45 Kentucky, No.67 Mississippi State and No. 69 Tennessee)
Format: 54 holes of stroke play, followed by three rounds of match play
Thursday: Practice Round
Friday: Rounds 1 & 2
Saturday: Round 3
Sunday: Match Play Quarterfinals and Semifinals
Monday: Match Play Finals
Defending Team Champion: Georgia (853, +13)
Defending Individual Champion: Lee McCoy, Georgia (207, -3)
Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics
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