Former Bulldogs lead the way on links in 2013

A Bulldog and a Yellow Jacket walk into a clubhouse together.

Former Bulldogs lead the way on links in 2013
Chris White

No joke.

They even shared a trophy.

Former Georgia golfer Harris English and former Georgia Tech golfer Matt Kuchar teamed up to win the Franklin Templeton Shootout on Dec.13-15 in Naples, Fla.

English’s contribution to their final round — the pair shot a single-round record 14-under 58 in their Sunday scramble to finish at a record-tying 34 under — kept the former Bulldogs on golf’s pro tours enjoying arguably their best calendar year in history.

With 11 former Georgia golfers with at least provisional status the PGA Tour this season and pro victories from English, Chris Kirk, Kevin Kisner, Russell Henley and Brendon Todd in the last 12 months, the Bulldogs are enjoying unparalleled success. Even Scott Parel, a Georgia graduate who didn’t play on the team, got in on the winning with a victory on the Web.com Tour in 2013.

The Bulldogs finished second in TheRivalsCup.net rankings of college alumni in 2013 with $10,266,921, trailing only Georgia Tech ($11,433,089), and won the Web.com Tour rankings with $939,257 last season.

With the books closed on pro tours’ 2013 events, here’s a look at some of the former Bulldogs’ biggest accomplishments this year.

English breaks out

This former Bulldog had enjoyed success on Web.com and PGA tours since he graduated in 2011, but nothing like he’s seen in the past six months.

The one-time Web.com Tour winner (Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational, 2011) won his first PGA Tour event in June at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn., and finished 19th in the final standings with more than $2 million in earnings. He has started the 2013-14 season strong, winning the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Mexico in mid-November and teaming up with Kuchar to nab another title a month later in the Franklin Templeton Shootout.

English sits second in the FedEx Cup standings with 657 points, trailing only Jimmy Walker (684 points).

Weekly winners become the norm

Chris Kirk kicked off a successful month for the Bulldogs on Nov. 10 when he won The McGladrey Classic in Sea Island, starting a three-week span in which a former Georgia golfer lifted a trophy each week.

English followed up a week later with his win in Mexico, and Kevin Kisner won the Pebble Beach Invitational, an non-tour event, the next week.

Kirk notches second PGA Tour victory

Kirk has a dozen top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour since 2011, but it’s been since that season he last won a tournament, finishing as a runner-up once since winning the 2011 Viking Classic.

Kirk finally returned to the top of the leaderboard on Nov. 10 with a victory at The McGladrey Classic in Sea Island, his old home course.

Web.com Tour paves way to PGA Tour

A trio of former Georgia golfers paved their path to the PGA Tour with successful runs on the Web.com Tour in 2013.

Brendon Todd and Kisner returned to the big leagues while Hudson Swafford earned his first go-round via the tour’s money rankings.

Now Kisner and the pair of Stadion Classic at UGA winners in Todd (2013) and Swafford (2012) are trying to make the most of their opportunities.

Todd is 4-for-4 in making the cut and has a pair of top-25 finishes already. Kisner has made the cut three times in four tries, has a top-20 finish (also at The McGladrey Classic) and won the Pebble Beach Invitational. Swafford has made one cut in four tournaments this season.

Henley dazzles in debut season

Former Stadion Classic winner Russell Henley (2011) wasted little time making himself known on the PGA Tour in 2013, winning in his debut tournament on Jan. 12, the Sony Open in Hawaii.

It kicked off a wild season for the Macon native, who added three more top-10 finishes before the season was over and finished 24th in the FedEx Cup standings and as a PGA Tour Rookie of the Year finalist.

Former Dogs take many paths to PGA

Here’s a list of Bulldogs on the PGA Tour and how they qualified for their level of status:

• Bubba Watson as 2012 Masters winner

• English, Henley and Kirk as winners of PGA Tour events

• Brian Harman and Erik Compton as top-125 finishers in previous season’s FedEx Cup standings

• Blake Adams with major medical provision

• Todd, Kisner and Swafford from finishing among Web.com Tour’s top 25 in regular-season standings or at end of finals

• Justin Bolli as a Nos. 126-150 finisher on previous season’s FedEx Cup list

• Ryuji Imada as a past champion, winning member of team tournament or veteran member who finished beyond 150 on FedEx Cup list

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