Tide Golf Teams Seek SEC Titles

Both the Alabama men and the Crimson Tide women are ranked second in the nation in college golf this week. Both Bama squads are ranked first among Southeastern Conference teams, which is pertinent since the teams will participate in SEC Tournaments this week.

The Alabama men's team will return to St. Simon's Island, Ga., where the Crimson Tide won the 2012 SEC championship. The Bama women will be closer to home at Greystone Golf and Country Club in Birmingham.

Both tournaments are 54-hole events played Friday-Monday.

Both Alabama teams are going for their sixth tournament championships this season.

This is the 13th year for the men's tournament to be played at Sea Island Golf Club and the 11th time the SEC tournament will be played on the Seaside Course, which is a par-70, 6,898-yard layout that also hosts the PGA Tour's McGladrey Classic.

Alabama will tee off at 8:30 a.m. EDT Friday and play with Florida and Georgia in the first round.

Alabama captured the school's third SEC Championship in 2012 with a six-shot victory over Auburn. The Crimson Tide shot the second-lowest 54-hole score in the 10 events held on the Seaside Course with a 12-under-par 828 (827 by Georgia in 2006).

The 2013 edition of the SEC Championship will feature six teams ranked in the most recent Golf World/Nike Coaches' Poll. Joining No. 2 Alabama at the Seaside Course are No. 8 Florida, No. 13 Georgia, No. 15 LSU, No. 19 Arkansas and No. 22 Auburn, while Tennessee, Texas A&M, Missouri, South Carolina, and Mississippi State are receiving votes. Only Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt are not represented in the coaches' poll.

Bama Coach Jay Seawell, the reigning SEC Coach of the Year, will call on the same lineup that he has used for the past two tournaments, starting Cory Whitsett, Justin Thomas, Bobby Wyatt, Scott Strohmeyer and Trey Mullinax.

Whitsett leads the team with a 70.96 scoring average, which is second in the SEC. Whitsett also ranks fifth in the nation by the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. Wyatt (seventh) and Thomas (eighth) are also among the top 10 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index.

Combined Whitsett and Thomas have won four individual titles this year and have eight top-five finishes. Thomas was the Golfweek National and SEC Player of the Week following his win at the Schenkel Invitational and Whitsett garnered the honors following his wins at the Linger Longer Invitational and the Aggie Invitational.

Alabama has won three SEC Championships, capturing the title in 1979 and 2008 along with the 2012 win. The Crimson Tide has three SEC medalists with Bobby Hill winning in 1951, Michael Thompson in 2008 and Thomas in 2012.

Greystone Golf and Country Club is a par-72, 6,401-yard layout. The course has been selected to host the SEC Women's Championship for the next four years, through 2016. In the past, the event rotated between member schools with Arkansas (2012), Auburn (2011), Alabama (2010), South Carolina (2009), and Tennessee (2008) hosting in recent years.

Alabama will tee off at 9:40 a.m. CDT Friday. The Crimson Tide will be paired with Arkansas and Florida in the first round.

The 2013 SEC Championship features six teams ranked in the most recent Golf World/WGCA Division I Coaches' Poll including No. 2 Alabama, No. 5 Florida, No. 7 Arkansas, No. 10 Vanderbilt, No. 19 Georgia and No. 22 Texas A&M. Also competing this weekend are Auburn, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Coach Mic Potter will start junior Stephanie Meadow, true freshman Emma Talley, senior Jennifer Kirby, junior Hannah Collier, and sophomore Daniela Lendl. The Crimson Tide boasts one of the deepest starting lineups in the Southeastern Conference, with four of the top 16 golfers in the SEC in scoring average.

It will be a homecoming for Collier, a Birmingham native, and a member at Greystone Golf and Country Club. The home-course knowledge should be an advantage for Collier, who has a 73.91 scoring average this season. She is the only player in the SEC allowed to play Greystone throughout the year since she is a member. Greystone is a course that Alabama has practiced on in the past, but SEC teams have not been allowed to play since August of 2012.

Meadow enters the SEC Championship first nationally in scoring average at 71.43. Talley is the Golfweek National and SEC Player of the Week after capturing her first tournament victory last weekend at the PING/ASU Invitational with a career-low 9-under-par 207. She brings a 72.74 scoring average, sixth in the league, into play this weekend.

Alabama has won one SEC Championship, capturing the 2010 title at NorthRiver Yacht Club in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide has not finished outside of the top three in the last four championships, finishing second in 2009, first in 2010, second in 2011 and third in 2012. UA has never had a medalist at the SEC Championship.

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