Tide Men's Golf Leads First Round

You can't win the tournament in the first round, but you can lose it, goes the adage. Alabama didn't win the NCAA Men's Golf Tournament in the first round Tuesday, but the Crimson Tide found itself in a familiar position at the top of the leaderboard.

Second-seeded Alabama is at one-over-par 285 and three shots in first after the first round of the NCAA Championships on the par-71, 7,292-yard Riviera Country Club course in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

It was a roller-coaster day for Alabama's five-man lineup, which recorded 17 birdies, one eagle, 18 bogeys and two double bogeys. Two of the birdies came on the final hole.

Alabama teed off on the 10th hole Tuesday afternoon and finished on the par-4, 458-yard ninth hole. The Tide played the hole at 2-under par with a 24-foot birdie from Bobby Wyatt and a 14-foot birdie from Justin Thomas.

"We had a nice round and I was proud of how we finished, making a couple of birdies on our final hole," Alabama Coach Jay Seawell said. "This is a hard golf course and the guys just kind of hung in there. I was pleased with the way they were able to stay focused on the job at hand."

Thomas, a freshman from Goshen, Ky., played his final 11 holes at 3-under par after a rough start. He is tied for 10th after posting the Crimson Tide's lowest round of the day at 1-under 70.

Wyatt, a native of Mobile, finished at even-par 71 with his closing birdie. He went out in even par and made birdie on his 10th and 18th holes with two bogeys in between for his even par round. He is tied with teammate Scott Strohmeyer in 13th place after carding an up-and-down first round.

Strohmeyer, from Auburn, made an eagle, four birdies and six bogeys to go along with just seven pars in his first round. Sophomore Cory Whitsett and senior Hunter Hamrick tied for Alabama's final counting score of the day with 2-over-par rounds of 73. They are in a tie for 46th place after 18 holes.

"This is a great, hard golf course. It is very fair. It is probably the fairest course we have every competed on. You hit a bad shot; you are going to get penalized for it. You hit a good shot; you have a chance to make birdies. The pins were fair. You have a 300-yard par-4 (No. 10) and you can make a three of a six with no water or out-of-bounds."

The second-seeded Crimson Tide has a three-shot lead on Florida and Auburn heading into Wednesday's second round. UCLA and Oklahoma are tied for fourth at 5-over 289 while Iowa, Florida State, North Florida, UCF and top seeded Texas are tied for sixth at 6-over 290.

Some other notable teams include seventh seed Oregon at 291, ninth seed Stanford at plus 9, third seed California at plus 11, eighth seed Washington at plus 12, and sixth seed Southern Cal at plus 14.

After three rounds of medal play, the field will be cut to eight teams, which will play match play to decide the championship. Teams will be re-seeded following the completion of medal competition.

Alabama will play with Texas and California again in the second round at Riviera on Wednesday. The Crimson Tide will tee off at 9 a.m. (CDT) on the first hole.

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