Tide Golfers Start SEC Title Play

Although both the men's and women's Alabama golf teams have their sights set on national championships with both teams ranked second in the nation, the title season begins this weekend for both squads in Southeastern Conference action.

The number two Alabama men's golf team of Coach Jay Seawell will be at St. Simons Island, Ga., while the second ranked Crimson Tide women's team of Coach Mic Potter will be playing at Fayetteville, Ark. Both tournaments are three-day, 54-hole events beginning Friday.

The SEC men's championship will be played at Sea Island Golf CVourse for the 12th consecutive year, and for the 10th time the event will be on the Seaside Course, which is a par 70, 6,898-yard course that also hosts the PGA Tour's McGladrey Classic.

The women's championship is played on a rotating basis with Arkansas hosting this year's tournament at the par 72, 6,134-yard Blessings Golf Club.

Last year, the Alabama men finished second to Florida at the SEC Championship, with the Gators edging the Tide by six strokes.

The 2012 edition of the SEC Men's Tournament will feature six ranked teams. Joining No. 2 Alabama in St. Simons Island, Ga. are No. 3 Auburn, No. 10 Arkansas, No. 21 LSU, No. 23 Florida, No. 25 Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

Seawell will call on the same lineup that he has used for the past three tournaments, starting Hunter Hamrick, Scott Strohmeyer, Cory Whitsett, Bobby Wyatt and Justin Thomas.

Thomas leads the team with a 70.96 scoring average, which is third in the SEC, and tops by any freshman. Thomas also ranks fourth in the nation by the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index.

Also ranking in the top 20 by Golfweek/Sagarin, coming in at 20 is Whitsett, native of Houston, Texas, his scoring average of 71.77 is seventh in the SEC. Combined Whitsett and Thomas have won four individual titles this year and have seven top-five finishes.

The 2012 SEC Women's Championship features eight ranked teams in the Golf World/NGCA Division I Coaches' Poll including No. 2 Alabama, No. 5 Auburn, No. 6 LSU, No. 9 Vanderbilt, No. 10 Georgia, No. 12 Tennessee, No. 15 Florida and No. 25 South Carolina. Also competing this weekend are Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and Mississippi State.

Potter will start Brooke Pancake, Jennifer Kirby, Hannah Collier, Stephanie Meadow and Johanna Tillström for the fifth time this spring. The Crimson Tide boasts one of the deepest starting lineups in the Southeastern Conference, boasting three of the top four golfers in the SEC in terms of scoring average.

Brooke Pancake enters the SEC Championship first in the SEC in scoring, at 71.83. Kirby is third in the SEC with a 72.13 average, while Meadow comes in at No. 4, with a 72.17 average.

Alabama also exhibits the lowest-team scoring average in the conference, with a 288.91 team average, and is tied with Auburn, with eight team top-10 finishes.

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