MONDAY MORNING REWIND:
1. You can’t really fault Kevin Kisner for not being able to win yet on the PGA Tour. The former Georgia Bulldog is just picking the wrong dudes to duel in a playoff.
Kisner found himself playing extra holes for the second time in four weeks on Sunday when he lost to Rickie Fowler in sudden death at The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra, Fla. The difference was Fowler’s kick-in birdie on the famous par-3 17th island hole at Sawgrass while Kisner just missed a 15-footer. Similarly, Kisner lost to Jim Furyk to a birdie putt on the second playoff hole at The Heritage last month.
It’s not like Kisner is quaking in fear on the big stage. He and Fowler tied at 1-under in the three-hole aggregate playoff that eliminated Sergio Garcia prior to sudden death. And Kisner made birdies on 16 and 17 Sunday just to get into the playoff. At the Heritage, Kisner birdied the 72nd and 73rd holes before Furyk bested his par.
“The more you’re in that position, the better off you’re going to be, obviously,” Kisner told reporters Sunday. “I was calm all day. I knew what was going on, and it was a cool feeling out there coming down the stretch.”
2. Kisner is just the latest UGA alum to light up the PGA Tour. In fact, eight Bulldogs were in the field at the Players. Only Harris English failed to make the cut.
Kisner was paired with 54-hole leader Chris Kirk for Sunday’s final round. But Kirk lost his swing and shot 75 to fall back into a tie for 13th at 7-under. Brian Harman shot 70 to tie for 8th, Russell Henley finished 24th at 5-under, Erik Compton was 30th (-4), Bubba Watson was 42nd (-2) and Brendon Todd was 51st (-1).
Kisner, Kirk and Harman each played on the Bulldogs’ 2005 national championship team.
“We’ve probably played 200 or 300 rounds of golf together, between qualifying and college tournaments,” Kisner said before the final round. “It should be fun.”
3. Good to see something positive finally happen for the Diamond Dogs. Georgia’s baseball team used a five-run rally with two outs in the 10th inning to defeat Kentucky 6-1 on Sunday and clinch an SEC series victory for the first time in six weeks. The Bulldogs also won 12-3 on Saturday in Lexington.
With the win, Georgia improved to 24-26 overall and 9-17 in the SEC. It also pushes the Bulldogs ahead of Tennessee (20-25, 8-18) and Mississippi State (24-27, 8-19) for the final spot in the 12-team SEC Tournament. To avoid a setback they’ll have to continue to play well in the final regular-season series starting Friday against Arkansas (30-19, 15-11).
“Everything is in front of us to play for,” coach Scott Stricklin said. “We told them before the game that we have to win today, and I’m proud of how we got it done. That’s what we needed.”
It didn’t come cheap. Georgia had to score in the ninth to send it to extra innings. Then, after scratching two runs across by stringing together two-out base hits, Zack Bowers crushed a three-run home run.
The real story was pitching, though. In just his second start since returning from a forearm injury, right-hander Robert Tyler was able to go five innings against the Wildcats and limited them to a run on two hits with no walks and four strikeouts in no-decision. Then Bo Tucker and Sean McLaughlin combined to pitch five scoreless innings.
That should give the Bulldogs some good vibes heading into Tuesday’s matchup against Georgia Tech in the annual Spring Classic for Kids at Turner Field. Normally the third meeting between the fierce rivals, the second game of this year’s slate was canceled due to rain in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets (32-18, 13-14 ACC) won 13-6 in Athens on March 31.
4. Georgia’s tennis teams were both dominant in advancing to the NCAA Championships. The eighth-seeded men’s team (23-4) had little trouble dispatching FSU 4-0 in second-round action on Saturday. The Bulldogs (23-4) will now face Texas (21-6) on Thursday in Waco.
Similarly, the sixth-seeded Lady Dogs (22-6) trounced Duke 4-0 on Saturday to reach the round of 16. Georgia will face No. 11 seed Michigan on Friday in Waco.
5. The Georgia softball team on Sunday received a No. 14 seed from the NCAA selection committee and found out it will host a regional that will get underway Friday. The Bulldogs (40-14) will play Central Connecticut State (31-12) in the opening round while North Carolina (36-14) and Western Kentucky (33-12) will face off on the other side of the bracket in double-elimination play.
It’s the eighth time Georgia is hosting a regional and the 14th consecutive NCAA berth, all under coach Lu Harris-Champer. Eleven of the SEC’s 14 teams earned bids.