Men's, Women's Golf Finish Strong

Alabama has what is considered the nation's best college golf program with both the women's team, defending national champion, and the men's team, which finished second by a stroke in last year's NCAA Championship, both ranked second in the nation. This weekend they showed talent and toughness.

At Hilton Head Island, S.C., on the par 71, 6,211-yard Long Cove Club, the Alabama women came from behind to win its second straight team title at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate. Across the nation in Las Vegas, at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters at the par-72, 7,510-yard Southern Highlands Country Club, the Crimson Tide men tied for second in a field that included an elite national field.

The Bama women fired the second lowest round of the day (291, 7-over-par) to overtake 36-hole leaders Vanderbilt and LSU for the Tide's third victory of the 2012-13 season. Alabama finished 24-over 876 and won by four shots over the Commodores and Tigers, who tied for second place.

In Las Vegas, Bama shot a 4-over-par 292 in the final round to tie for second place at 5-over-par with New Mexico. California captured the team title with an 8-under-par total of 856, after shooting a 3-over 291 on Sunday. UCLA placed fourth at 6-over 870 while Stanford, which started the day in second place, was fifth at 12-over 876 after carding a 12-over 300 in the final round.

"I was very proud of the effort and toughness this team displayed to find a way to win this golf tournament," Alabama Women's Coach Mic Potter said. "A difficult golf course like this one will frustrate everyone, and it is a battle of attrition to see who can overcome that adversity. The thing we did well was being able to bounce back. You never know what is going to happen on a good hard golf course."

Arizona State shot 9-over 293 for a fourth-place finish (+35, 887) while first-round leader Arkansas finished fifth at 38-over 890. Virginia carded the lowest round on Sunday with a 6-over 290 on the difficult Pete Dye layout at the Long Cove Club.

Junior Stephanie Meadow led the Tide with the day's low round of 4-under-par 67 to finish in third place individually. She finished at 2-over-par 214 over the 54-hole event. Arizona State's Noemi Jimenez captured medalist honors with a 4-under-par 209 while Madelene Sagstrom of LSU was second at even-par 213.

After an opening-round 77, Meadow played the final 36 holes in 5-under par to post her fourth top-10 of the year. She signed an unblemished scorecard that listed four birdies and no bogeys, including two birdies in the final three holes to help send Alabama to victory.

All five Alabama players finished in the top 17. Freshman Emma Talley tied for 12th at 7-over-par 220 after shooting 75 in the final round. Jennifer Kirby, Hannah Collier and Daniela Lendl all tied for 17th at 10-over 223. Kirby shot 74 on Sunday while Collier and Lendl both shot 75.

Alabama returns to action this coming weekend at the Gator Women's Invitational at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville.

"We got a chance to compete against the best teams in the country this weekend," Alabama Men's Coach Jay Seawell said. "We wanted to find out just how good we are, and where we stack up at this point in the season. All in all, it was a good week for us. However, we also found out that Cal is really good and we have a lot of work to do."

Junior Cory Whitsett got off to a tough start to his third round, making two bogeys on the front and another on the 10th hole. However, the Houston, Texas, native caught fire, making four birdies in the final eight holes to finish tied for first place at 4-under-par 212. He shot 1-under 71 in the final round.

Whitsett was tied with three others players – Patrick Rodgers of Stanford, James Erkenbeck of New Mexico, and Michael Kim of California – after 72 holes but saw Rodgers win the playoff to capture medalist honors. It was Whitsett's second straight top-two finish and his third top 10 of the 2012-13 season.

"I was really proud of Cory," Seawell said. "He is playing really good right now coming off of a runner-up finish in Puerto Rico and a tie for first here. Cory is really starting to lead us on the golf course."

Senior Scott Strohmeyer carded a 2-over 74 on day three to finish tied for seventh at 1-over-par 217 on the challenging tract at the Southern Highlands Country Club. The tie for seventh was a career-best finish while playing a team event (tied for fifth earlier this year competing as an individual).

Justin Thomas bounced back from a tough first two rounds to shoot even-par 72 on Sunday to bolster the Crimson Tide scorecard. Junior Trey Mullinax counted a 75 for Alabama on Sunday and posted a tie for 31st individually. Bobby Wyatt's 80 was dropped from the Alabama team total in the final round. He finished tied for 39th with Thomas at 9-over 225.

Alabama returns to the course this weekend at the Schenkel Invitational at the Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro, Ga. The Tide posted a school-record 47-under-par total a year ago to win the Schenkel Invitational.

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