Sights and sounds from the U.S. Collegiate
Lance Ringler's College Golf Page
ALPHARETTA, Ga. – This and that from this week’s U.S. Collegiate Championship at the Golf Club of Georgia:
• The four corporate skyboxes overlooking the 18th green were a huge hit. As groups started playing the final hole, the boxes started filling up. Sure, there was a bit of a party atmosphere, but the patrons also showed respect for the golfers.
What was really neat was watching a player sink a long putt or make birdie or eagle at the par-5 finishing hole, and hearing the crowds break out with a loud cheer.
I never saw skyboxes before at the college tournament, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t at a few more in the future.
What a great idea and I certainly believe we’ll be seeing them again next fall when the USCC takes place at the Golf Club of Georgia.
• Clemson’s Corbin Mills scored this year’s only hole-in-one during the final round. The sophomore from Anderson, S.C., aced the 183-yard 13th hole with an 8-iron. The hole ranks as the third most difficult on the Lakeside course.
• Overheard from one South Carolina player to another as they were coming out of the huge hospitality tent where lunch was being served: “If we had all five guys break 60 tomorrow we still couldn’t win.” That’s because the Gamecocks were 31 over par after two rounds and trailed leader Georgia Tech by 51 shots. Break 60? Fact is, no Gamecock broke 70 the final round as they shot a team score of 23-over 311, and finished 15th in the 15-team field.
• The Golf Club of Georgia has quite an impressive list of members, including the likes of Matt Kuchar, Troy Matteson, Heath Slocum, Roberto Castro, Brendon Todd, Stewart Cink and Billy Andrade, to name a few. Hang around long enough and you also will probably see former Braves pitcher John Smoltz, former Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart (who frequently brings along Jerome Bettis as his guest), former Atlanta Falcons All-Pro guard Bill Fralic, and former Cleveland Cavalier Brad Daugherty.
• Teams traveling by air to the USCC were once again treated to a first-class arrival when they landed in Atlanta. Each of the seven teams were picked up at the airport and driven the 35 miles in a Shoreline Limousine. Once they arrived at the tournament hotel, each team received the keys to two Mercedes Benz SUVs, courtesy of Atlanta Classic Cars. Nice way to travel, that’s for sure.
• The previous four USCC competitions were held in the spring. No event was staged last spring as tournament organizers decided to move to the fall, predominantly for better weather as well as to separate it from the club’s other major event, The Georgia Cup, which annually brings together the reigning U.S. and British Amateur champions for a one-day charity match the week prior to the Masters.
“I think moving to the fall is great,” Georgia Tech head coach Bruce Heppler said. “I think we’ll be keeping these same general dates in the future. Except for some rain the morning of the second round, everything was near perfect.”