SEC Championship Notes
The No. 9 Tennessee men’s golf team will begin defense of its 2007 SEC title Friday as the 2008 SEC Championships get underway. The 54-hole tournament runs Friday through Sunday and takes place at the Frederica Golf Club, a par-72, 7,217-yard course, in St. Simons Island, Ga.
The SEC Golf Tournament had been played at Sea Island Golf Club since 2001, but this year the tournament moves to the Frederica Golf Club. The course, designed by famed course designer Thomas Fazio, opened in 2005 and provides a unique layout with dramatic elevation changes.
As per usual the SEC boasts some of the top golf teams in the country. According to the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings the SEC has four of the top 10 teams and six of the top 20 teams: No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Alabama, No.7 Florida, No. 9 Tennessee, No. 14 South Carolina and No. 16 Auburn.
“It’s just like any SEC, it is all tough and we have our hands full,” head coach Jim Kelson said. “But I think if we play well, like we proved last year, and I think that this team is every bit as good, this team is probably better than the team we had last year because I think we are more consistent one through five.”
Tennessee enters this year’s SEC championships with an experienced and balanced core. In the lineup for UT are two seniors and one junior, including four who competed in and won the 2007 SEC Championships.
“I think the strength of this year’s team is that everyone has almost played No. 1 or No. 5 throughout the whole year,” Kelson said. “Anyone on our team could play one and anyone on our team can play five. They are really that close and they are all very solid players so I think that that says a lot about our team.”
The Volunteers lineup will feature Chris Paisley, Philip Pettitt, David Holmes, Charlie Ford, and Robin Wingardh.
Paisley turned in the top finish by a Vol at the SEC Championship last year. He finished tied for second with former Vol Tino Weiss. Paisley leads Tennessee with a 72.27 scoring average and has four top-10 finishes this season, his best a first-place finish at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at the Ridges this fall.
Pettitt is second on the team with a 72.42 scoring average and leads the team with 14 rounds of par-or-better. The senior has competed in two SEC championships, his best finish tied for 14th at the 2005 SEC Championships.
Holmes has been a consistent member of the Tennessee lineup this season. The Knoxville native has earned two top-10 finishes and five top-25 finishes.
Ford finished in eighth place at the 2007 SEC Championships. This season, the senior has two top-10 finishes and a 72.69 scoring average.
Wingardh is competing in his first SEC championship. During his freshman campaign he has two top-10 finishes, his best a tie for fifth place at the Turtle Bay Intercollegiate this fall.