MOULTRIE — Harris English was on the tee box at Sunset Country Club on Thursday, awaiting his turn in the Pot o’ Gold Pro-Am’s long drive contest, when a number of former teammates and friends reached up to shake his hand.

The handshakes were primarily in friendship from those who played golf with him while he was an outstanding middle school and junior golfer in Colquitt County.

The handshakes also could have been in congratuations.

English, one of the nation’s top young golfers and just a junior at the Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tenn., has committed to play golf at the University of Georgia.

English was back in Colquitt County to play with his father Ben English and Tallahassee’s Hudson Swafford, who also will be heading to Athens to play golf, on the Glen Arven Country Club team led by professional Tommy Connally.

After playing middle school golf in Colquitt County, he moved three years ago to Chattanooga, where he has been a part of an outstanding Baylor School program.

Heavily recruited despite being just a junior, English chose Georgia over Auburn, Duke, Wake Forest and Virginia.

“I’ve always been a big Georgia fan,” said English, who has grown to a lanky 6-foot-3. “This is like a dream come true.”

There are other ties to Athens. Father Ben English played basketball at Georgia and former Georgia All-American Michael Morrison is a Baylor alumnus.

The early decision also may make his life a little easier.

“It was tough with all the coaches wanting you to see their school,” he said. “It gets it off my shoulder.”

English was the individual medalist on the state champion Baylor School team and is the second player from the Chattanooga area to commit to Georgia. McCallie’s Adam Mitchell committed last year.

He finished his junior year at 40 under par for 16 rounds and sank a 48-foot birdie putt in a playoff against Webb School to give Baylor the state title.

English said the move to Baylor was a good one for him.

“It’s opened so many doors for me,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed it up there.”

And he has improved his game under coach King Oehmig and playing with players such as former Red Raider Luke List, now a junior at Vanderbilt.

English will join two close friends in Athens in Mitchell, a former opponent and good friend, and Swafford. He also has played with Georgia freshman and 2005 Walker Cup player Brian Harman of Savannah.

And he will be joining an outstanding collegiate program. Georgia, under coach Chris Haack, is the top-ranked team in the country.

English said it felt good to be back home and enjoyed bantering with old friends Clarke Hendrick, Matt Smith, Josh Dale, Aaron Elrod and others while re-familiarizing himself with the Sunset course.

“It’s fun to come down here,” English said. “This is where I grew up.”

English is the son of Ben and Martha English, formerly of Moultrie, who now reside in Thomasville.

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