published Friday, April 11th, 2014

Former UGA golfers experience different days

  • photo
    Harris English hits out of a bunker on the 10th hole during the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 10, 2014, in Augusta, Ga.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Russell Henley and Harris English heard the cheers echo off the Georgia pine trees all afternoon: "Go, Dawgs!"

"I wish I had a dollar for every one I heard," Henley joked, "because I'd be a millionaire."

The former University of Georgia golfers were together in the final grouping on Thursday, which prompted UGA coach Chris Haack to leave the comfort of his home to watch his former players.

"I never come down," Haack said. "Tuesday when the pairings came out, all four guys were in the afternoon, and with these two in the very last group, I told my wife, 'If I'm ever going to go, this is the time to go.'"

Henley, playing in his second Masters, shot a 1-over-par 73 and is tied for 27th. English, who prepped at Baylor School, shot 74 and shares 40th.

English made the turn at 1 over, then double-bogeyed the par-3 12th hole. He rebounded with birdies at Nos. 15 and 17 before closing with a bogey.

"I started off not hitting it very good. I scrambled around on the front nine and part of the back nine," English said. "My chipping and putting kept me in it.

"Overall, it was an awesome experience."

Former Bulldogs Bubba Watson, who won the 2012 Masters, and Chris Kirk also heard the UGA cheers. They had different results. Watson shot a 3-under 69, which has him tied for second, while Kirk fired a 3-over 75.

"It was really solid," Watson said. "I don't want to give my secret, but I'm just trying to hit greens."

Tennessee guys' update

Former Vanderbilt golfer Brandt Snedeker is in a group of seven players who shot 2-under 70 and are two shots off the lead. Snedeker said he was pleased with his round despite taking a penalty stroke on No. 13. His ball rested on a downslope between two bunkers. He took a couple of practice swings and the ball moved.

"It rolled an inch or something like that, and I had to replace it and take a shot penalty," Snedeker said. "That was just one of those things that happens once in a blue moon, and obviously I did a great job getting that one up-and-down [for par]."

Former Tennessee Tech star Scott Stallings shot a 3-over 75 with some bad breaks. But his son, Finn, stole the show during the Par-3 contest and merited a mention on the "Today Show" as the cutest caddie of the tournament.

"He made it past the first hole, and we were very surprised he made it all nine holes," Stallings said. "It's a dream to be here, and it's a dream for him to participate. You hope that something comes of it. If we had one picture it would be awesome, but we have a hundred."

University of Tennessee sophomore Oliver Goss, the U.S. Amateur runner-up, is tied with former Volunteer and British Amateur champion Garrick Porteous for low-amateur honors at 4-over 76.

"I think that everything that happened today helps me for tomorrow," Goss said. "So I learned from my mistakes early today and I'll play well tomorrow."

Ryder Cup scouting

American Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson is almost always doing a little scouting for the team that he'll captain this September in Scotland.

He played a practice round with three-time winner Jimmy Walker and caught up with several other players earlier this week. He's adding the RBC Heritage tournament to his schedule next week.

"I'd like to go see some of the younger players that are there," Watson said. "I'll be able to see them at the Greenbrier Classic, the Open Championship and the PGA.

"I'll have a chance to get to know them, and they'll get a chance to know me."

NFL stars in crowd

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has spent the last two days in Augusta instead of in New York. But he has the perfect outfit -- a green jacket.

He joins NFL hall of Famer Lynn Swann, who has been on the grounds all week in various capacities wearing his jacket.

Other current and former NFL stars were in the crowd as patrons, including former UT tight end Jason Witten, now shininig for the Cowboys.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice also wandered around the course. He has played in several Web.com Tour events, and his team won the "Big Break" NFL series over the winter.

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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