ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. The Texas A&M men’s golf team advanced to the SEC Championships Semifinals after topping Georgia 3-2, but the title run fell short as it took extra holes to decide the 3-2 loss to Arkansas. This was the third semifinal appearance for the Aggies in the last four seasons.
“We fought so hard and the guys gave it all they had today, but we came up just a little short,” said head coach J.T. Higgins. “I’m really proud of the whole team, but Brandon [Smith] played such a hard-fought match and both players gave it everything they had. Hats off to Arkansas, they played a better match and were the better team today.
“This experience throughout the tournament has been invaluable for everyone on this team. We will learn from it and it will help us coming down the stretch of our season. We saw some weaknesses today that snuck up on us, but those are things we can clean up before NCAAs, that’s what this has done for us is get us ready.”
Against Georgia, senior Chandler Phillips, junior Brandon Smith and sophomore Walker Lee earned victories to help the Aggies advance. Phillips got out to a strong start, winning the first two holes and picking up this third at the turn, later able to hold on for the victory. Smith led most of the way and clinched the victory winning the final hole. Lee played an even match much of the way and after starting on 10 he was able to win on four and hold on the rest of the way.
After a tough back-and-forth battle in the quarterfinals, freshman Sam Bennett earned A&M’s first semifinal victory, sealing the win on the final hole. Phillips was also able to close out on the final hole as extras holes for Smith went on to decide the match. Smith came back from being three-down through seven holes to even things up and held on to force extra holes. A long putt on 19 proved to be the deciding factor as Arkansas’ Luis Garza clinched the win for his team.
The Aggies will prepare for the continuation of their season as they await the NCAA Championships announcement on Wednesday, May 1 at 7 p.m. CT. The selection show will air on Golf Channel.