Men's Golf Better, But Not Women's
The Alabama men's team, playing at St. Simons Island, Ga., added to its lead in the second of three rounds over par-70, 6,898-yard Seaside at the Sea Island Golf Course. The Crimson Tide women, however, playing at the par-72, 6,112-yard Blessing Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark., shot its worst round of the season – 24-over-par 312 -- to slip into third place with 18 holes to play.
The Crimson Tide men's team extended its lead to 11 shots over second place Georgia after shooting a 6-under-par 274. Georgia and Auburn are in second place at 3-under 557 with Florida in fourth at 1-over and Arkansas fifth at 6-over.
"I am really proud of the guys again today because I thought the golf course played even tougher," Alabama Men's Golf Coach Jay Seawell said. "The wind was up a little today and the pins were more difficult. I was proud of the way they competed, and I liked the way they responded to the challenge."
Alabama sophomore Bobby Wyatt is tied atop the leader board with Tennessee's Rick Lamb. Wyatt shot 1-under 69 on Saturday and is 6-under 134 after 36 holes of action. He played his first 35 of the SEC Championship without a blemish on his card before a double bogey on the 18th left him in a tie for the lead.
Justin Thomas paced the Crimson Tide's balanced scoring attack on Saturday, carding a 3-under-par 67. Combined with yesterday's 68, Thomas goes in Sunday's final round in third, one shot off the lead.
Junior Scott Strohmeyer put together a dazzling round of two-under 68, tying his season- and career-low rounds in the process.
"Scott Strohmeyer did a great job for us today," Seawell said. "Scott was really good. He shot 68 today and looked totally in control. He was a major difference for us today."
Also contributing to the Tide's lead on Saturday was sophomore Cory Whitsett, who shot an even-par 70. Alabama was able to drop senior Hunter Hamrick's 1-over-par 71. Hamrick still has a shot at the individual crown, however, sitting at one-under for the championship and is tied for eighth.
Alabama will try to close out its third SEC Championship in team history tomorrow and first since 2008, teeing off at 7:20 a.m. on the first tee.
"We are looking forward to tomorrow," Seawell said. "We are going to have to take it one hole at a time and try to win the day again on Sunday."
Meanwhile, the Alabama women struggled to finish at 33-over-par 609 after 36 holes after leading following first day play. Bama surrendered a nine-shot lead on Saturday.
Auburn (603) is six shots ahead of the Tide while host Arkansas (604) is five. The Tigers carded a 9-over 297 on Saturday while the Razorbacks shot a tournament-low 295. Florida is in fourth at 612 with Georgia in fifth at 614.
"It was a disappointing day that is very difficult to explain," Alabama Women's Coach Mic Potter said. "We hit a lot of bad shots from a lot of good players. I don't know whether being in the lead affected us, I hope not, but it is the only answer I have right now."
Junior Jennifer Kirby led Alabama with a 3-over-par 75. Kirby made the turn at even par but made bogey on the 10th and then double bogey on the 16th after her second shot did not clear the forced carry in front of the green. She is tied for 10th entering Sunday's final round at 7-over 151.
Sophomore Stephanie Meadow is tied for sixth after two rounds but struggled around the Blessings layout on Saturday with five bogeys and a double bogey.
Hannah Collier is tied for 22nd place after shooting 6-over-par 78 in round two and is 11-over 155 for the tournament. Brooke Pancake and Johanna Tillström both shot 80 in the second round for the Tide's final counting score. Pancake is tied for 17th individually while Tillström is tied for 37th.
The Crimson Tide will play with Auburn and Arkansas in Sunday's final round. Alabama will tee off at 8:50 a.m. from the first tee.
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