Post-Season For 3 Tide Golf Stars

It is not big news when a coach says that the team is better with good players. That proved to be the case for the Alabama men's golf team this year as the Crimson Tide won the national championship with outstanding players.

But it is news when four members of a team – in this case the Alabama golf team – are selected All-America. And three of them were first team All-America as selected by Golfweek.

Juniors Cory Whisett and Bobby Wyatt along with sophomore Justin Thomas were selected to the first team while junior Trey Mullinax as an honorable mention choice.

It marks the first time Alabama has produced more than three All-America players in one season and the first time it has had multiple first-team All-Americas in the same season. The Crimson Tide has now had at least one first-team All-America in six straight seasons (Michael Thompson, 2008; Bud Cauley, 2009-11; Thomas, 2012).

And although the college golf season is over, those three first team All-America players will continue playing as a team – this team being the 10 best college golfers in the United States playing against the 10 best of Europe. In addition to being familiar with one another, the Tide players are also familiar with the head coach of the United States team, Bama's Jay Seawell.

The Ryder Cup-style competition begins Friday and continues through Sunday at the Wilmington (Delaware) Country Club South Course.

Whitsett was among the six U.S. players selected by the Palmer Cup Ranking. He was joined by California's Michael Kim, North Florida's Sean Dale, Patrick Rodgers of Stanford, New Mexico's James Erkenbeck, and Cal's Michael Weaver off the ranking. Palmer Cup Committee selections were Daniel Berger of Florida State, Abilene Christian's Alex Carpenter, and Thomas. Wyatt was Seawell's coach's pick.

Whitsett was also a first-team PING/GCAA All-America and the SEC Player of the Year. He finished with a team-best 71.08 scoring average and was 8-under par for the season. He has received All-America recognition three times, earning second-team in 2011 and 2012. He was 3-0 in match play as the Tide captured the program's first NCAA Championship.

Thomas was the National Player of the Year in 2012 and becomes just the second two-time first-team All-America in school history (Bud Cauley, 2009-11). He finished just one shot behind Whitsett in scoring average for the season at 71.11 and is now 39-under par during his two years in Tuscaloosa. Thomas is also the Tide's all-time leader in tournament victories with six. He was 2-1 in stroke play at the 2013 NCAA Championships.

Wyatt is also a three-time All-America honoree. He was a second-team choice a season ago and an honorable mention selection in 2011. He finished with a 71.29 scoring average at 1-under par for the season. He was 2-0-1 in match play this season.

Mullinax captured his first All-America honor. He finished with a 72.77 scoring average and posted four top-10 finishes. His 1-up victory in over Illinois' Charlie Danielson on the 18th hole in the finals of the NCAA Championships helped seal the title for the Tide.

The first day of action in Palmer Cup play Friday consists of a morning round of four-ball that is followed with an afternoon round of foursomes. The Saturday and Sunday rounds both consist of 10 singles matches.

The European team has Julien Brun of TCU (France), Iowa State's Scott Fernandez (Spain), Pedro Figueiredo (Portugal), Pontus Widegren (Sweden) of UCLA, UCF's Greg Eason (England), California's Joel Stalter (France), Kevin Phelan (Ireland) of North Florida, Nova Southeastern's Ben Taylor (England), Gary Hurley of NIU Maynooth (Ireland), and Arkansas' Sebastian Cappelen.

Thomas, Carpenter and Rodgers have each previously represented the United States in the Palmer Cup. Widegren will become just the fourth golfer to play in four Palmer Cups while European teammates Cappelen and Brun are competing in their third and second, respectively.

The United States leads the Palmer Cup series 8-7-1. Europe staged a dramatic comeback last year's Palmer Cup in Newcastle, County Down, by winning seven of the final eight singles matches for a 13.5-10.5 win.

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