Bama Golf Teams Both In Top Spots

The Alabama men's and women's golf teams are the top-rated teams playing in their respective tournaments this weekend, and the Crimson Tide is living up to the rankings. Both squads moved into first place Saturday going to Sunday final rounds.

The Alabama men took the lead in defense of their 2012 championship at the Schenkel Invitational in Stateboro, Ga., while the Crimson Tide women, going for their second straight championship and third overall of the spring, moved into first at the Gator Women's Invitaitonal in Gainesville, Fla.

The Alabama men fired a 7-under-par 281 in the second round to take the team lead from Texas on the par-72, 6,947-yard Forest Heights Country Club course in Statesboro.

Alabama sophomore Justin Thomas maintained his hold atop the individual leader board with a 2-under-par round of 70. He has a three-stroke lead over teammate Bobby Wyatt on the individual leader board. Thomas enters the final round at 7-under-par 137 with Wyatt second at 4-under 140.

In the team competition, the Tide holds a two-shot lead over Texas at 13-under-par 563 after counting four under-par rounds on Saturday. The Longhorns are two-shots back at 11-under 565 after carding a 3-under total of 285. Florida is in third place at 5-over-par 581 with Maryland in fourth place at 584. Central Florida and North Florida are tied for fifth at 9-over 585.

The Alabama women, playing on the par-70, 6,002-yard Mark Bostick Golf Course on the Florida campus, shot a 13-over-par 293 to move past Oklahoma for a three-shot lead at 19-over-par 579. The Sooners carded at 17-over 297 and are tied with host Florida (293) in second place at 22-over 582. Oklahoma State moved into fourth place at 25-over 585 with Virginia (586) in fifth after the day's lowest round of 289.

For the men, Thomas, from Goshen, Ky., got off to another hot start in round two, shooting 4-under 32 on the front side with three birdies, an eagle and a bogey. He then carded bogeys on the 11th and 13th for a 70.

Wyatt, a native of Mobile, also played well on the front with an eagle on the par-4, 337-yard fifth hole, driving the ball just off the green and then chipping in. He added three more birdies and two bogeys on the front nine for a 3-under 33. He birdied the par-5 11th hole in between bogeys on 10 and 12 to finish at 2-under.

Junior Cory Whitsett is in a tie for third place at 3-under-par 141, four-shots back of Thomas, after firing a 1-under-par 71. The Houston native recorded three birdies and two bogeys on his round.

Senior Scott Strohmeyer also bounced back from a tough round on Friday to shoot 2-under-par 70 in round two. He closed with an eagle on the par-5 18th and is tied for 32nd individually. Redshirt freshman Tom Lovelady shot 74 but did not count toward the Tide's second-round score. He is 5-over and tied for 37th individually. Lee Knox is playing as an individual this weekend and shot 4-over 76 and is tied for 42nd at 6-over 150.

For the third straight round Alabama will be paired with Texas – the team that edged Bama for the national championship last year -- and Florida. The Crimson Tide, Longhorns and Gators are slated to tee off beginning at 7:30 a.m. CDT on Sunday.

Alabama Women's Coach Mic Potter said, "It was a peak and valley kind of round for us. We got off to a good start and built a pretty good-sized lead, but when the wind came up we struggled a little bit. We have to clean up our mistakes tomorrow and play like we don't have the lead, but we have to continue to be aggressive and intelligent."

All five Alabama's scores on Saturday were within two shots of each other with Hannah Collier, Daniela Lendl and Jennifer Kirby all carding 3-over rounds of 73.

First-round co-leader Stephanie Meadow shot 74 to slip into a tie for fourth. Emma Talley also remained in the top 10 individually in a tie for ninth at 5-over 145 even though her second-round 75 did not count toward Alabama's team total. Meadow is five shots back of tournament leader Chirapat Jao-Javanil of Oklahoma, who fired a 2-under 68 in the second round.

Collier had the busiest scorecard on Saturday with four birdies and seven bogeys while rolling in just seven pars. She is tied for 14th after two rounds at 6-over 146. Lendl's 73 left her in a tie for 21st at 8-over 148 while Kirby is tied for 27th at 9-over 149.

The Crimson Tide will play with Florida and Oklahoma in the final round, which is scheduled for a shotgun start at 7:45 a.m. (CDT) on Sunday.

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