Tide Golf Hosts Prestigious Event

In 10 years at the helm of the Alabama men's golf program, Jay Seawell has resurrected the proud tradition once held at The Capstone and established the Crimson Tide as one of the elite programs in the nation. Part of that legacy is playing host to the prestigious Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, named for one of Bama's best ever golfers.

The 2011 tourney b egins Monday at the Old Overton Country Club in Vestavia Hills in suburban Birmingham and is open to the public.

Alabama has won the event four of the last five years on the par-70, 7,204-yard tract, finishing third a season ago.

Under Seawell's guidance, Alabama has made eight NCAA Tournament appearances and five NCAA Championships berths - including five of the last seven. From 2007-09, Seawell's teams finished sixth, 13th and 15th, respectively, in the NCAA Championships while the 2008 team also captured the school's first Southeastern Conference Championship since 1979.

The Crimson Tide returned to the NCAA Championships in 2011 and finished 14th. Four starters from the team return for the 2011-12 team with two exciting freshmen joining the lineup and adding some extra punch.

"We are now looked at by players all across the country as a formidable place to come play college golf," Seawell said. "They know they will play a great schedule, have a chance to get better, and they have a chance to win a championship – that's what they want. The Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate is a key piece to our challenging schedule. It gives us a chance to compete against a great field on a fantastic golf course."

This season senior captain Hunter Hamrick is joined by two of the most heralded freshmen golfers in the nation – Justin Thomas and Tome Lovelady – for the second straight season. Cory Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt gave the Crimson Tide a big lift a year ago. These five players will make up the Alabama lineup at this week's JPNI.

The Jerry Pate features a strong field in 2011 and is scheduled to have two rounds or 36 holes on Monday with the final 18 holes on Tuesday morning at Old Overton Country Club. This year's field includes the third-ranked Crimson Tide, along with No. 5 Texas, No. 7 Florida, No. 9 Auburn and No. 16 Clemson along with Arizona, Louisville, Mississippi State, Middle Tennessee State, Samford, SMU, UAB and UNLV.

The Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate was begin in 1986 and is named for the most successful professional golfer in Crimson Tide history. Pate currently plays on the Champions Tour and is active in the team selection for the tournament.

He is also one of the nation's finest golf course designers, including designing the Old Overton course where the JPNI is played.

Since its inception, the JPNI has seen some powerful names in the world of golf win its individual title. Current PGA Tour golfers Rory Sabbatini, Hunter Mahan and D.J. Trahan have all won medalist honors at the Pate, and perhaps the greatest golfer of all-time, Tiger Woods, won the JPNI in 1994 while competing for Stanford. David Kirkpatrick (1991), Joseph Sykora (2006), Mark Harrell (2007) and Hunter Hamrick (2009) all took medalist honors for Alabama.

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