Alabama Golf Teams In Big Tourneys

The No. 1 ranked Alabama men's golf team opens its spring season at the Puerto Rico Classic on the 6,945-yard, par-72 River Course at the Rio Mar Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, while the sixth-ranked Crimson Tide women continue spring play at the Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate at English Turn Golf and Country Club in New Orleans. Both tournaments are Sunday through Tuesday.

This year will mark the Alabama men's team's 10th consecutive trip to Puerto Rico. The Tide will be seeking its fourth straight victory on the island, and going for five team wins in seven years in this tournament.

Bama also will be looking for its 11th consecutive victory overall, including the final six events of the 2012-13 season and the first four (in the fall) of the 2013-14 campaign.

Along with top-ranked Alabama, the 15-team field includes No. 3 Georgia Tech, No. 7 Georgia, No. 9 Virginia Tech, No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 25 SMU, No. 33 Northwestern, No. 38 Purdue, No. 42 Clemson, No. 43 North Carolina, No. 59 Missouri, No. 62 UNC Greensboro, No. 66 East Tennessee State, No. 93 North Carolina State, and No. 108 Michigan.

Coach Jay Seawell will start All-America seniors Cory Whitsett, Bobby Wyatt and Trey Mullinax along with freshman Robby Shelton and sophomore Tom Lovelady. Mullinax is ranked first in the most recent rankings, while Shelton is ninth, Wyatt is 13th and Whitsett is 44th. Freshman Gavin Moynihan will compete as an individual.

Mullinax leads the team with a 69.17 scoring average with Wyatt second at 70.40 while Shelton and Whitsett are close behind at 70.42 and 71.20, respectively. Lovelady is averaging 71.89 strokes per round. Moynihan averages 74.33 strokes per round.

Alabama has won the last three Puerto Rico Classics with a combined total of 91-under par. The Crimson Tide took home team honors last season with a 33-under total of 831. UA won with a 30-under total in 2012 and a 28-under 836 in 2011. Two Alabama players have captured medalist honors in the tournament's history, with Justin Thomas (-10, 206) winning in 2012 and Matthew Swan (-12, 204) in 2008.

The Puerto Rico Classic will run Sunday, Feb. 23, to Tuesday, Feb. 25, with 18 holes played daily. The Alabama golf team then continues its 2014 schedule March 2-4, at the Querencia Cabo Collegiate Invitational in Los Cabos, Mexico.

The women will play at English Turn, a par 72, 6,140-yard layout designed by Jack Nicklaus that will play host to five teams inside the top 10, eight teams inside the top 25 and 12 inside the top 50 among the 17-team field.

Along with sixth-ranked Alabama, the challenging field will include: No. 1 USC, No. 2 UCLA, No. 4 Washington, No. 9 Oklahoma State, No. 12 Clemson, No. 18 Florida, No. 25 LSU, No. 28 Auburn, No. 29 Tulane, No. 31 Mississippi State, No. 40 Denver, No. 52 Georgia, No. 61 Baylor, No. 63 Texas-San Antonio, No. 66 Texas and No. 73 Ole Miss.

Alabama, coming off of a sixth-place finish at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic last week, will start a lineup that includes senior Stephanie Meadow, sophomore Emma Talley, junior Daniela Lendl, sophomore Janie Jackson, and redshirt freshman Cammie Gray. Senior Hannah Collier will participate as an individual. The Tide finished the fall with a win at The Landfall Tradition.

Meadow, who has captured medalist honors in her last two starts, leads the team with a 70.67 scoring average and is 14-under par for the season. Talley is second with a 73.27 stroke average while Lendl is third with a 74.93 average.

The 17-team field features teams that have a combined 13 national championships since 1982. Defending national champion USC has three titles (2003, 2005, 2013) and leads a championship field that includes, UCLA (1991, 2004, 2011), Florida (1985, 1986), Tulsa (1982, 1988), Alabama (2012), Georgia (2001) and Purdue (2010).

The first round will begin at 9 a.m. on Sunday with teams going off both the first and 10th holes. The second round is Monday, with the final round a shotgun start at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

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