Tide Golf Teams Both In Second
On the men's side, Justin Thomas fired an opening round 67 to take the individual lead and help Alabama to second place in the Schenkel Invitational in Statesboro. For the women, Stephanie Meadow is in a tie for first place at 2-under-par 68 and help the Crimson Tide to second place, a shot behind Oklahoma, in the Gator Women's Invitational.
The Bama met shot 6-under-par 282 on the part-72, 6,952-yard Forest Heights Country Club course. Texas, the team that beat Alabama by a stroke on the final hole of last year's NCAA Championship finals, shot 280 to lead the tournament. Florida is in third place at 3-under-par 285 with Central Florida fourth at 3-over 291. UAB (+4, 292) and Vanderbilt (+4, 292) are tied for fifth.
On the par-70, 6002-yard Mark Bostick Golf Course on the Florida campus, the Bama women are one shot back of Oklahoma. The Tide had a 6-over-par 286 round. Florida is third at 289, Miami fourth at 290, and Oklahoma State and Mississippi State tied for fifth at 293.
Thomas finished with a 1-shot lead at the Schenkel after a closing birdie on the 564-yard, par-5 18th hole. He got off to a blazing start with four birdies in his opening-six holes and made the turn at 4-under 32. Thomas then birdied the 12th and made his only bogey on 13.
There are four players one shot back of Thomas at 4-under-par 68. The group includes a pair of Longhorns, Kramer Hickok and Brandon Stone along with Vanderbilt's Charlie Ewing and UCF's Jose Joia.
Alabama's first round got a big boost over the final three holes from junior Cory Whistett and Bobby Wyatt. The pair birdied both the 16th and 18th holes to finish at 2-under-par 70 in a tie for sixth place.
Redshirt freshman Tom Lovelady was the Tide's final counter toward the team score with a 3-over-par 75. He is tied for 45th. Scott Strohmeyer is tied for 73rd after carding a 6-over 78. Lee Knox played as an individual and shot 74 to tie for 30th after the first round.
Alabama will be paired with Texas and Florida in the second round Saturday.
In Gainesville, Mic Potter, coach of the Alabama women's team, said, "Stephanie is hitting a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. Her short game is always good enough that when she makes a mistake, she can save her momentum and go birdie the next hole. She is solid and we know that, but now we have to get better scores from our fourth and fifth players."
Meadow shot even par on the front side with birdies on the third and fifth holes followed by bogeys on No. 7 and No. 9. Back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th holes moved her to 2-under-par, and she finished with six straight pars to equal Virginia's Portland Rosen for the first-round lead.
True freshman Emma Talley also carded a top-10 round on Friday with an even-par 70 that left her in a tie for seventh place. She played the front nine in 1-over par but sandwiched a bogey at the 15th between birdies on the par-5 12th and the par-4 17th for a 70. It was Talley's third straight round of par or better and her ninth such round this season.
Junior Hannah Collier and sophomore Daniela Lendl were the Crimson Tide's third and fourth counting scores in round one. Collier is tied for 20th at 3-over-par 73 while Lendl shot 5-over 75 and is tied for 32nd. Jennifer Kirby was the Tide's drop score with a 76 and is tied for 39th.
The Crimson Tide will play with Oklahoma and Florida again on Saturday in the second round.
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