Natty bump? Georgia leads after first round of spring opener

·2 min read

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. – Talk about a national-championship bump.

A couple of weeks after Georgia won the NCAA football title over Alabama, the Bulldogs men's golf team got its spring season off to a great start, shooting 9 under and taking the first-round lead by four shots over Arizona State on Monday at the Southwestern Invitational.

Senior Trent Phillips also leads individually, firing a 6-under 66 while carding an impressive seven birdies and an eagle at North Ranch Country Club.

"If drive it well on this golf course and control your speed on the greens, you've got a good chance of playing well, and we have a lot of guys on our team who hit it pretty straight," said Phillips, who recently switched to a Ping driver and used it a lot on a course where many guys dial it back. "This golf course seems hard to make a lot of birdies; I know I did today, but didn't expect that, and I don't want to expect that. I just want to keep plugging and get 'em when I can."

Highlights: Round 1 of Southwestern Invitational

Southwestern Invitational: Teams | Individual

Georgia head coach Chris Haack, who attended both football playoff games, believes there's something to be said about that national championship rubbing off on his squad. "It doesn't hurt, that's for sure," Haack said. He added that his team has been working with the same sports psychologist as Kirby Smart's team.

"We sat there and watched those guys, and one of the things we learned from them was about being a team and coming together as a team. Doing things for each other instead of for yourself. That's been our theme for this year. ... If these guys can get close and really gel – I know in our past national championship teams, that was always a key thing, they were always very tight and did everything together."

It's clear that Phillips has bought in. Last week, he went over to a freshman teammate's house and played Fortnite with him.

"When someone wins a national championship and people start talking about Georgia, you're like, man, it's our turn," Phillips said. "Time to step up."