Tide Men's Golf Preseason No. 1
The Alabama football team has won back-to-back national championships and is a near unanimous choice to win this year's crown. The Crimson Tide men's golf team didn't get quite that much support, but in the Golf World/Nike Preseason Coaches Poll, Bama received 10 of a possible 20 first place votes and totaled 489 points.
California was second with nine first-place votes and 471 points. Texas picked up the final first-place vote and was third with 446 points. Georgia Tech and Washington round out the top five.
"It is an honor to be selected as the preseason No. 1, but this team hasn't achieved anything yet and our focus is becoming the best team we can be by late May," Alabama Coach Jay Seawell said. "Last year's team won a national championship and that is the goal for the 2013-14 team. We have a tremendous nucleus of seniors with Bobby Wyatt, Cory Whitsett and Trey Mullinax that I know will provide outstanding leadership this season."
Overall, the Southeastern Conference has seven teams ranked in the preseason poll. Following Alabama is No. 7 Arkansas, followed by Georgia at No. 11. Auburn is ranked 16th with LSU 17th, Florida 18th and Texas A&M 19th. South Carolina (27th), Tennessee (28th), Vanderbilt (32nd) and Mississippi State (36th) are also receiving votes.
The Crimson Tide returns three starters from last year's NCAA Championship team, including Cory Whitsett, Bobby Wyatt and Trey Mullinax. Alabama loses 2012 National Player of the Year Justin Thomas, who is turning pro after the Walker Cup, and fifth-year senior Scott Strohmeyer to graduation.
The senior duo of Whitsett and Wyatt return for their fourth and final season to anchor the Crimson Tide lineup. Whitsett is ranked as the No. 1 male player to watch by Golf World while Wyatt is eighth on that list. The pair has combined for 69 career tournaments at Alabama and 205 rounds of golf in crimson and white. Mullinax averaged 72.77 strokes per round last year and has 18 career starts.
Incoming freshman Robby Shelton is also ranked in Golf World's Top 50 Male Players to Watch. He won the 2012 Junior PGA and the Junior Players titles and is ranked 25th in the World Amateur Golf rankings.
Whitsett, Wyatt and Justin Thomas are scheduled to tee it up for the Americans at the Walker Cup on Sept. 7-8 while another incoming freshman Gavin Moynihan will play for the Great Britain and Ireland team in the Walker Cup. The Crimson Tide open the 2013-14 season on Sept. 13-15, at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational.
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