Men's And Women's Golf Deliver Titles
Alabama sophomore Justin Thomas was medalist at the Schenkel in Statesboro, Ga., his sixth career tournament victory, which is an Alabama record. He and PGA Tour player Steve Lowery had been tied with four individual championships. Thomas;' record-setting win came in just his 20th Bama tournament. Lowery achieved his five victories in 44 career starts.
The second-ranked Crimson Tide men's team cruised to a 10-shot victory over the par-72, 6,947-yard Forest Heights Country Club course. The Crimson Tide carded a 3-under-par round of 285 on Sunday to finish at 16-under-par 848, 10 shots ahead of Texas, 5-over 293. North Florida moved past Florida for third place with a 5-under round. The Gators finished at 9-over 873 in fourth with Central Florida fifth at 877.
Alabama's second-ranked women's golf team staged another impressive comeback to capture the team title at the SunTrust Gator Women's Invitational by three shots on the par-70, 6,002-yard Mark Bostick Golf Course.
The Crimson Tide women made the turn at 7-over par and had slipped into third place behind fourth-ranked Oklahoma and fifth-ranked Florida. However, Alabama swung the momentum back in its direction by shooting 2-under par over its final nine holes for a three-shot win over OU and a five-stroke margin over the host Gators.
Alabama Men's Coach Jay Seawell said, "I am really proud of the guys and their efforts this weekend. It was a difficult prep week with the quick turnaround from the Southern Highlands Masters in Las Vegas. It was good to see the team manage difficult situations and find a way to win here this weekend."
Thomas shot 70 on Sunday for a 9-under-par 207 and a three shot victory over the Longhorns' Brandon Stone (-6, 210). UA junior Bobby Wyatt finished tied for third place at 5-under 211 after a 1-under 71 in the final round.
"Justin has struggled a little this year, not bad, but he hasn't been spot on," Seawell said. "He really worked hard this week to get back to basics – just back to being himself. It was great to be able to see him get the fruit from his labor, but there is still some work to do."
Junior Cory Whitsett finished seventh at 3-under 213 after carding an even-par 72 on Sunday as all five Tide golfers were within three shots of each other. Scott Strohmeyer also shot 72 and was UA's final counting score. Strohmeyer tied for 22nd individually at 4-over 220. Tom Lovelady's 73 was dropped from Alabama's score in the final round and he finished tied for 30th at 6-over 222.
The Tide has now won back-to-back team titles at the Schenkel Invitational Alabama returns to action next weekend looking to win its third straight Longer Longer Invitational title.
Alabama Women's Coach Mic Potter said, "It was another great come-from-behind win. We started very slowly, again, and dug ourselves a very sizeable hole. To the girls' credit, they never gave up and kept grinding. In the end, we were able to capitalize on mistakes from Oklahoma and Florida along with several good finishes from Hannah (Collier) and Jennifer (Kirby), who was steady all day."
Collier started her round on the second hole Sunday and struggled out of the gate, falling to 4-over-par after 10 holes. That is where the junior turned her game around and keyed the Tide comeback. Collier made five straight pars before making birdie on No. 17, a par on the 18th and a closing birdie on the par-4 first hole for a 2-over-par round of 72. She tied for 13th at 8-over 218.
Kirby began her final round on the fourth hole and quickly moved to 2-under with birdies on the sixth and seventh holes. A double bogey on No. 8 moved her back to even par as the senior made par on the final 13 holes to help UA rally for the win. She finished tied for 16th individually at 9-over 219.
Junior Stephanie Meadow was Alabama's leading scorer, finishing tied for fourth at 4-over-par 214. She shot 72 in the final round with a 1-under-par total on the back nine. Freshman Emma Talley also carded a 72 on Sunday to tie for ninth place at 7-over 217. Sophomore Daniela Lendl shot 75, but her score was not counted toward the team total.
The Tide shot 6-over-par 286 in the final round to finish at 25-over-par 865. Oklahoma posted a 28-over-par-total of 868 with UF at 870. Oklahoma State and Virginia tied for fourth at 37-over 877.
The win was Alabama's fourth win of the season and its fourth win in the past five events.
Alabama is now idle for four weeks before teeing it up in the PING ASU Invitational on April 12-14 at the ASU Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz. The Tide then begins play in the SEC Championship just five days later on April 19-21 at Greystone Golf and Country Club in Birmingham.
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