Tide Golf Wins Over Kent State

The second ranked Alabama men's golf team scored a 3-1 victory over Kent State in the first day of match play action at the NCAA Championship Tournament in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and moved into the semifinals of the national championship event.

Alabama's top three players scored victories to secure the win for the Crimson Tide at Riviera Country Club.

The Crimson Tide, seeded first in match play competition after winning the medal play segment of the tournament over the first rhree days, will face fourth-seeded California in the semifinals with the match starting at noon Saturday. California defeated San Diego State, 3-2, in Friday's quarterfinals.

Alabama got off to an impressive start against Kent State Friday.

Freshman Justin Thomas, who had been named a first team All-America performer on Thursday, led off for Bama and scored a 6 and 5 win over Kent State's Kevin Miller. Thomas closed out the round with a par on the 13th hole.

Sophomore Cory Whitsett was second off for Bama and earned a 5 and 4 win on the 14th hole. A team needs three individual match play wins to win.

Alabama coach Jay Seawell said, "We had two guys play just fantastic golf (Thomas and Whitsett) and in our tournament schedule we probably would have had a low score today, but you have to get three wins and that last point is always hard. We knew coming in that to get to three (points) is hard."

Tide junior Scott Strohmeyer, who was the third UA player out on the course, had a commanding 5-up lead through nine holes but his lead was slipping away against the Golden Flashes' Taylor Pendrith, dwindling to 2-up on the 16th. Strohmeyer made a long par putt on the 16th to halve the hole and then two-putted for birdie on 17 to close out the match, securing the Alabama victory.

"I am really proud of (Scott)," Seawell said. "He probably became the anchor of why this program went from being very good to being one of the best teams in the country. He brought some confidence to the other guys and some maturity. They just believe in him.

"He has continued, since the time we put him in the lineup after Las Vegas, to really get better and better every week. I have total faith him. That looked like a 12-foot putt (on No. 17) but it was only probably two. He knocked it right in the center, and I don't think anyone doubted he was going to."

Senior Hunter Hamrick, playing in the fifth spot and anchoring the UA lineup, had battled to all square with Mackenzie Hughes through 14 holes before Strohmeyer ended the match. Sophomore Bobby Wyatt fell to KSU's Corey Conners 4 and 2.

Alabama will start the same lineup on Saturday against California that if did against Kent State. UA's Thomas will go out first vs. Max Homa. Whitsett will square off with Brandon Hagy with Scott Strohmeyer playing Pace Johnson. The fourth match will pair Wyatt and Michael Kim with Hamrick and Joel Stalter going off last.

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