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UGA golfers lead strong group from Peach State
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UGA golfers lead strong group from Peach State

UGA golfers lead strong group from Peach State
Photo Credit: Curtis Compton
Harris English, who played at the University of Georgia, watches his putt on the No. 18 green during his practice round Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at Augusta National Golf Club.

UGA golfers lead strong group from Peach State

 2014 has already been the year of the Dawg on the PGA Tour.

No school's alumni has won more prize money than Georgia so far this season.

"There awesome," said UGA golf fan Brad Hall of Athens. " 

Now they bring an impressive contingent here to the Masters.

Bubba Watson can play here until he dies. But he's already won once this season, taking home the Northern Trust Open. Russell Henley is playing in his second Masters. He earned his spot with a thrilling victory at the Honda Classic, holding off Masters betting favorite Rory McIlroy.

But there are two Dawgs here for the first time that are really turning heads. Chris Kirk earned his way in with a win at the McGladrey Classic down on the Georgia coast.

But there there's Harris English. He's already won twice since the Masters, taking home titles at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis last summer and the OHL Classic Mayakoba in Canada this past November.

"He can putt and he seems to hit it close all the time," said Masters patron Bill Huggins of Athens. That sure does make the game easier.

English is fourth in the FedEx Cup Standings so far this season. Watson is fifth, Kirk is sixth.

But many around press building think English is a dark horse to win in his first try. Even another Masters rookie is impressed.

"He's got a couple of wins, just a phenomenal player," said Georgia Tech's Robert Castro, also making his Masters debut.

No rookie has won here since Fuzzy Zoeller did it in 1979.

As for Castro, it took him a while to realize all of this is actually real.

"It's almost sureal," said Castro. "(Tuesday) there was a couple of times where I wasn't sure if I was watching an old  highlights video of the Masters or playing myself."

Castro is still looking for his first win. But he did have four top 10s, including the TOUR Championship and won more than $2 million. 

Then there's Patrick Reed.

He played at Georgia for a semester before being asked to transfer. He picked Georgia Regents College (formerly Augusta State). Now he's one of the  hottest players in golf.

He's already won twice this year and has more than $2 million in prize money. He's second on the FedEx Cup standings and has said he's one of the top five players in golf.

That might not be the case, but many the golf world sure though it made him the cockiest. But he sure is humbled by his current surroundings.

“When I was real young, all I ever dreamed of was playing at Augusta for a green jacket. … To have a dream come true and be here as a professional playing my first Masters feels like I’m still in a dream.”

The local mainstays, Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar are here also.

Cink is still playing off his exemption for winning the British Open in 2009. But that is about to run out.

Kuchar remains a consistent player, but is coming off a horrible loss in Houston where he choked away the lead on the final hole.

But that gives Georgia fans plenty to pull for in this year's Masters.

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