Freshman Leads Men's Golf Effort

WINDERMERE, Fla. – True freshman Justin Thomas led the Alabama men's golf team to a tie for third place after the opening round of the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational on Sunday at the par-72, 7,544-yard Isleworth Country Club.

The Crimson Tide shot 3-over-par 291 to join Stanford in a tie for third place. Texas, who won the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate at the beginning of October, holds the team lead after shooting 10-under-par 278. North Florida is in second at 1-under 287 while California rounds out the top five at 5-over 293.

Thomas, a native of Goshen, Ky., was one hole away from challenging Texas' freshman Jordan Spieth for the tournament lead. Spieth shot 65 (-7), but the 11th hole was all that stood in the way of Thomas and a 65. However, a quadruple-bogey seven on the par 3 left him with a 69 and share of second place.

Thomas began his round on the 10th hole and posted the seven on his second hole of the round. He then birdied the 12th and bogeyed the 13th to stand at 4-over after four holes. But that is where things turned around for the rookie as he would go on to shoot 7-under on his final 12 holes, including a 5-under 31 on the front nine that included an eagle-3 on the par-5 seventh. Sophomore Cory Whitsett posted UA's second-best score with an even-par round of 72 on Sunday. He also struggled on the back nine, shooting 2-over par, but rebounded with a 2-under 34 on the front side, his closing nine holes, including three birdies on No. 4, 7 and 8 to close out his round. Whitsett is tied for 11th place entering Monday's second round.

Senior Hunter Hamrick and sophomore Bobby Wyatt both carded identical rounds of 3-over 75 to count toward the Tide's team total and are tied for 36th individually. Junior Lee Knox, making his first start of the season, was UA's drop score with an 81.

Alabama will play with California and Florida in Monday's second round and are scheduled to tee off at 7:50 a.m.

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