Hamrick Tough In NCAA Golf Tourney

STILLWATER, Okla. – Alabama junior golfer Hunter Hamrick's toughness was on display in the opening round of the NCAA Championships on Tuesday afternoon at the par-72, 7,416-yard Karsten Creek.

The native of Montgomery was in the Stillwater Medical Center until 4:30 a.m. Tuesday with a high fever and a migraine headache. Hamrick then teed off at 12:40 p.m. on the 10th tee and grinded his way to a 1-under-par round of 71.

Third-seeded Alabama carded an even-par round of 288 to enter Wednesday's 7 a.m. tee time in third place. Bud Cauley's 70 paced the Tide who are five shots back of leader Georgia Tech (283) and two shots behind UCLA (286). Texas A&M (289) is in fourth place while Illinois, Ohio State and Georgia are tied for fifth (291). Host and top-ranked Oklahoma State is eighth at 4-over-par 292.

"I don't feel good," an exhausted Hamrick said following the first round. "I went last night and got some treatment (at hospital from 11 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.) and that took a while. I didn't get much sleep. I felt better on the back nine; the front nine was kind of a struggle. I drank a lot of fluids, and I think the medicine was finally kicking in.

"It (not feeling well) just allowed me to play one shot at a time, which is what you have to do on a golf course this hard. I was just taking a step at a time and that helped me play well. I couldn't get ahead of myself. I couldn't think about anything but moving along and hitting the next shot.

"I had sore throat last week and then I got a migraine about four days ago and it didn't go away. The migraine escalated into body aches and a fever. When I checked into the hospital last night I had a 102 fever. When I came out this morning, I had a fever and it was hot. I think it (the fever) broke on the back nine because I was able to cool down a little on the back nine."

Hamrick, who is tied for ninth individually, had four birdies and three bogeys on his round. He birdied the difficult 17th hole and followed with another birdie on 18 to make the turn at 1-under. After back-to-back bogeys on the third and fourth holes, he rallied with a birdie on the par-4 sixth hole (his 15th) and closed with a four on the par-5, 623-yard ninth hole.

"I would go to war with that guy," Alabama Coach Jay Seawell said of Hamrick. "Trey (Mullinax) got off to a horrible start and we didn't know if Hunter could go or how many holes he could get in. I wasn't sure if he could go 18 holes. For Hunter to go out there and shoot 1-under par, for as bad as he felt, I am very proud of him."

Cauley is tied for fifth place after one round of play. His 70 on Tuesday included five birdies and left him three shots back of Georgia Tech's James White (67).

"I played well," Cauley said. "I made some birdies. I hit a couple bad shots and made some bogeys, but that is going to happen out here. I just tried to make sure I did not make any doubles, and then see if I could hit the fairway and score."

Seawell said, "He has been playing great and that continued today. That birdie on No. 8 (his 17th hole) was impressive because that is a hard hole today. I was proud of him. He has been our hoss the last six or eight weeks, and he led us again."

Cauley said, "We started off well. The wind died down today and it was a completely different golf course today than it was in the practice round (Monday). We got a good draw with the wind this afternoon and we play early tomorrow, so hopefully we can shoot another good score."

Seawell said, "It is a difficult golf course and it is the first round of the NCAAs, so you have all of those pressures plus a great golf course. We were in the premiere pairing and a lot of people on that first tee, so there were some things the guys aren't used too, but we shot even par and I've very proud of them."

True freshman Cory Whitsett carded an eagle on his final hole of the round, the par-5, 623-yard ninth hole. He stroked a hybrid from 270 to within seven feet and sunk the putt. Whitsett finished with a 73 and is tied for 34th.

Fellow freshman Bobby Wyatt was Alabama's fourth counting score in round one. He shot a 2-over-par round of 74 to tie for 50th. Trey Mullinax shot 84 and is tied for 146th.

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