BRADENTON, Fla – On the first tee, the University of Georgia assistant coach, Jim Douglas, told Greyson Sigg, “Believe me, they’re scared,” referring to the LSU Tigers.
Coach Douglas and his bulldogs underestimated their SEC rival.
LSU wasn’t scared. They were ready.
Greyson Sigg could not even extend the match with a birdie, because, right on top of Greyson’s 2 -foot birdie putt, Eric Ricard dropped a 25-foot bomb, halving the whole, and blocking Greyson’s final effort to continue the match for another hole.
Georgia was on the ropes. The momentum was against them.
Georgia fell short on the final few holes of today’s match play rounds.
The under-dawgs, as we can safely call the 33rd ranked team in the country making it all the way to the semi finals in the national tournament, concluded a season that coach Chris Haack described as, “the most schizophrenic year you could have had. We were here and then there.” But he does admit that, “they played well when it counted.”
But in the end, they could not survive as LSU delivered a decisive three-to-one victory over the Bulldogs, leaving one match stuck in a draw.
Many spectators familiar with LEE McCoy warned that once match play arrives, he will be on fire.
This proved true. As Lee pummeled his morning opponent – Ryan Fricker – five and three, Georgia marched on to a four to one victory over the local favorite, the University of South Florida. Zach Healy beat Trae Valentine, Sepp Straka beat Chase Koepka, Grayson Sigg fell to Rigel Fernandez, and Mookie Demoss had one last victory before crumbling to Zach Wright seven and six in the afternoon..
“I think a lot of people counted us out to make match play.” Lee McCoy said after the morning round, “we were really excited to prove some people wrong and excited to keep doing that in the first round of match play.”
By the time the first ball of the afternoon was in the air, the tournament had already been suspended due to lightning.
The semifinal matches:
(3)University of Georgia and (7) Louisiana State University,
(5) University of Southern California and (1) Illinois.
Despite Lee McCoy’s slow start in his afternoon match against LSU’s Stewart Jolly – falling one down after two holes – he surged back on the front-nine with a combination – birdie, eagle – to make the match 2-up, a lead that he maintained all the way to the end. Lee made it clear after the final round yesterday that he was prepared to go low in matchplay. He seems comfortable on the golf, suggesting that some kind deal had been reached with the property, official enough to guarantee UGA two points. For the first time all week, his band of underdogs, which had made up for his struggles during stroke play, faltered just slightly. They did not give up, far from it. For instance, on the #15 hole, Greyson Sigg answered Eric Ricard’s approach shot, which got the UGA sophomore within four feet of the hole for birdie. But, the LSU sophomore slammed a 25ft putt into the back of the cup as if he meant to increase his lead, and not simply hold on, as Ricard squelched Greyson’s last-ditch effort to continue the match to the 16th hole.
“They fought right down to the bitter end,” UGA’s assistant coach, Jim Douglas said, “that’s all that you can ask for as a coach.” The UGA assistant is excited about next year because “we have four of these guys coming back and I am excited to get back here and make another run at the championship.”