Tide Men's Golf Led By Lone Senior

WINDERMERE, Fla. – The University of Alabama's men's golf team is well into their 2011-2012 schedule and Hunter Hamrick, a native of Montgomery, leads the team as its captain and only senior. Hamrick is fresh off of his best finish of the season, placing fourth at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate at the Old Overton Club in Vestavia Hills earlier this month.

When asked if he feels any pressure or stress being the only senior on the Alabama men's golf team, Hamrick explains that although he doesn't necessarily feel pressure to perform because everyone on the team is so great, he does feel some stress.

"No one wants to be the senior showing up late or making mistakes," says Hamrick. "I want to be the one to set an example for everyone else."

Beginning Sunday, Hamrick and the rest of the men's golf team will travel to Windermere, Fla. to compete in the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational at the Isleworth Golf and Country Club.

Hamrick says that he doesn't think the team has reached their full potential yet this season.

"I don't think we've gotten to the level we know that we can perform at," says Hamrick.

He suggests that while the team has been prepared mentally for tournaments, their physical performance has been lacking.

"I don't think any of us are playing with as great of form as I know we can," says Hamrick. "Physical weakness is a lot easier to fix than mental weakness, which is a good thing."

Performing at a top level consistently can be challenging, especially when expectations with schoolwork are just as high. Hamrick says that the intensity of the team's weekly practice schedule can become overwhelming at times, but that with focus, both schoolwork and a good golf game can be completed.

"I do sometimes find it difficult to balance schoolwork with golf practice," says Hamrick. "What people don't always realize is that with golf, it could take five or six hours to play 18 holes, whereas other sports may only have a two-hour practice. It's definitely a challenge but I always find a way to get it done."

Despite such a demanding practice and tournament schedule, the men's golf team received the highest combined GPA over all other men's sports. Hamrick also Cleveland golf All-American Scholar accolades following last season.

Hamrick, whose father Bill played golf both in college and some professionally, says it was his dad who got him interested in the sport.

"My dad was the one to really get me started in golf and I've been playing ever since I could hold a club," says Hamrick.

Hamrick first saw tournament action for the Tide in the fall of 2008 as a redshirt freshman. Since then he has had many memorable moments but a few stick out as being his favorites.

"The happiest moment I've had playing golf was winning regionals as a freshman both with the team and by myself. It was my first win in college and probably my biggest win too," says Hamrick.

A moment for Hamrick that perhaps brings up a different emotion occurred last year during the 2011 NCAA Championships where he played despite having to make trips to the hospital to be treated for mononucleosis between rounds.

"The fact that I had mono and had to go to the hospital during the championships made me want to fight even harder," says Hamrick. "I've never felt so bad in my life but at the same time, it was kind of exciting to see what I was capable of while being so sick."

Hamrick anticipates a summer 2012 graduation date and after that, hopes to play golf professionally.

"After graduation, I plan on going to the PGA's Q-School and hopefully I'll be playing professionally," Hamrick said. "I love golf and I hope I'll be able to make a career out of it and possible influence someone through it."

For now, Hamrick continues to focus on schoolwork and practice and hopes to lead the team to another successful season. The Isleworth Collegiate, played at the par-72, 7,544-yard, Isleworth Golf and Country Club, will highlight many of the nation's top teams.

Competing alongside No. 5 Alabama in the 54 hole tournament, running Sunday to Tuesday, are No. 2 Oklahoma State, No. 4 Stanford, No. 7 Texas, No. 10 Florida, No. 15 California, No. 22 LSU, No. 25 Ohio State, back-to-back NCAA Champions Augusta State, host schools Texas Tech and Central Florida, Texas Christian, Indiana, Vanderbilt and North Florida.

Last year, the Crimson Tide won the team title, shooting a 20-over-par 884, edging out second place LSU by two strokes. Pacing the Tide last year was then freshman Cory Whitsett, who carded a two-over-par 218, and a fifth place finish.

Head Coach Jay Seawell will start senior Hunter Hamrick, sophomores Bobby Wyatt and Cory Whitsett, freshmen Justin Thomas and junior Lee Knox. Alabama tees off at 8:15 CT on Sunday from hole 10 and will be paired with fellow SEC foes Vanderbilt and Florida. The Isleworth Collegiate Invitational marks the end of the fall schedule for the Crimson Tide. Alabama will be back in action on February 17, when they travel to Rio Grande, Puerto Rico for the Puerto Rico Classic.

BamaMag Top Stories