Tide Women's Golf Wins Championship

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Alabama women's golf team earned its first victory of the 2011-12 season against one of the nation's most difficult fields with a 4-shot win at the Mercedes-Benz SEC/Pac-12 Challenge on Sunday at the par-72, 6,447-yard Holston Hills Country Club.

Alabama shot 1-over-par 865 to edge No. 1 UCLA by four strokes. The Tide carded a final-round 4-over 292 while the Bruins shot 291 to finish at 869. Auburn was third at 879 followed by Tennessee and Southern California tied for fourth at 880.

"I don't think there is any doubt that UCLA is the standard this year," Alabama Coach Mic Potter said. "To beat them is always an accomplishment and an honor. We wanted to make sure we played every shot with confidence and commitment and not worrying about what anyone else is doing. We wanted to take care of ourselves, and we did that today."

Sophomore Stephanie Meadow set an Alabama record with the fourth tournament victory of her young career. She shot even-par 72 on Sunday to finish at 5-under 211 and edge Vanderbilt's Lauren Stratton by two shots. Meadow won her fourth medalist honor in just her 15th career tournament in crimson and white.

The victory was the first of the 2011-12 season for Meadow, who won three times last spring on her way to SEC Freshman of the Year and first-team All-America honors.

"Steph (Stephanie Meadow) needed to make a couple of changes in her golf swing to be the great player she wants to be, and that is what she has been working on early in the year," Potter said. "Those little swing changes have really helped her. I have never seen her hit the ball as well as she is right now. Then to be able to put it under pressure and see it hold makes me feel like she has arrived again."

Alabama received solid play throughout its lineup this weekend with four players in the top 24 to help propel the Tide to victory. Junior Jennifer Kirby finished tied for 18th at 2-over-par 218 while sophomore Hannah Collier was tied for 20th at 219 and freshman Johanna Tillström tied for 24th at 220. Senior Brooke Pancake was just two shots behind that at 222 to place tied for 34th.

During Sunday's 4-over-par round of 292 that clinched the win, Meadow and Kirby led the way with even-par rounds of 72 with Tillström shooting 73 and Pancake 75. Collier was UA's drop score with a 76.

The Mercedes-Benz SEC/Pac-12 Challenge was Alabama's final event of the fall schedule. The spring slate kicks off on Feb. 26-28 at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate at English Turn in New Orleans.

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