Georgia’s Swafford expects to redshirt

Hudson Swafford at the 2009 NCAA Championship.

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You might see Hudson Swafford competing at the Azalea Amateur in late March in South Carolina.

You certainly should see him competing this summer on the U.S. amateur circuit.

Where you likely won’t see him – at least for the next five months – is on the college scene with his Georgia Bulldogs team.

“Unless something really crazy happens, I definitely will redshirt this season,” said Swafford, a senior who has been out since undergoing surgery on his left shoulder in August.

“Right now I think that’s the best thing for me to do,” Swafford said Jan. 19. “I feel it’s a good decision and one that will turn out for the best in the long run.”

Swafford, 22, of Tallahassee, Fla., is a two-time, second-team All-American and was the SEC Freshman of the Year for 2006-07. Last season, he was a first-team All-SEC selection and won the Puerto Rico Classic while leading the Bulldogs to a team victory. He finished 12th at the SEC Championship and sixth at the NCAA Southeast Regional.

“Of course we would love to have ‘Hud’ back in our lineup this spring, but I want what is best for him long-term,” coach Chris Haack said. “I think it makes more sense for him to take his time and get back to full strength.”

Swafford played his first full nine holes since his surgery Jan. 18 and shot 1 over par.

“We are pretty excited about the way he played and the way he felt,” Haack said. “But he did get a bit tired after about six or seven holes.”

Swafford, too, was encouraged, but continues to remain cautiously optimistic.

“Everything is coming along well,” he said. “I feel I have my range and motion back and now on working on building up my strength and stamina. I don’t really have a timetable. I’m just going to work my way back into my comfort zone.”

While Swafford’s likely decision to redshirt this season will be a bit of a blow to the Bulldogs, his return for the 2010-11 campaign should make Georgia a power.

He will re-join a team that will feature All-Americans Russell Henley and Harris English, who are juniors this season. Henley finished the fall season No. 3 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings, and English was No. 33.

“Coming back next year, I’ll have another full year under my belt and I feel I’ll be ready physically,” Swafford said. “I feel I’ll be able to contribute a lot more to our team (next season), which should be really, really good.”

Though the break from golf in the fall might have affected his game, it definitely helped him in the classroom. Last semester, Swafford, a consumer economics major, had a 3.40 GPA, his best since arriving at Athens.

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