Tide Men's Golf Excels In League

Although Alabama partisans expect the Crimson Tide to be best in every sport, those are unrealistic expectations. Nevertheless, Bama fans can be excused for expecting excellence from the Alabama golf program.

While the women's team has just begun NCAA Regional Tournament play, the Alabama men's golf team of Coach Jay Seawell is coming off a dominating performance in the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Bama will begin NCAA region play next week.

Not coincidentally, when the SEC handed out its annual men's golf awards as voted by the league coaches, it was no surprise that the Crimson Tide hogged the trophies.

Alabama's Jay Seawell earned SEC Coach of the Year honors for the third straight season, while Crimson Tide freshman Robby Shelton was named both SEC Golfer and Freshman of the Year. Cory Whitsett took home SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors for the second consecutive year, and Whitsett was named 2013-14 male Southeastern Conference H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Tuesday.

Seawell was voted SEC Coach of the Year for the fourth time, having previously earning the honor in 2013, 2012 and 2008. The Alabama men's golf team validated its national No. 1 ranking with a wire-to-wire, dominating performance at the SEC Championship at Sea Island's Seaside Course. Behind tournament medalist Bobby Wyatt's 18-under 192, the Crimson Tide had a three-day total of 34-under-par 806 to win by 16 strokes over Sunday charger LSU. Alabama won the SEC title for the third straight year and for the fifth time overall. Wyatt was the fourth Alabama player to garner medalist honors, joining Bobby Hill in 1952, Michael Thompson in 2008 and Justin Thomas in 2012.

Shelton arrived at The University of Alabama as the nation's No. 1-ranked junior golfer after winning the 2012 Junior Players Championship and the Junior PGA. Shelton finished 10-under at the SEC Championship to finish third individually in the tournament. Shelton ended with a 4-under 66 on Sunday for Alabama.

To great extent, Seawell is getting it done with local players. Six of the nine roster members are Alabamians. Both Shelton and Wyatt are from the Mobile area.

A business major, who was graduated last Saturday, Whitsett's accomplishments both on and off the golf course are nearly unmatched in collegiate golf. Whitsett was the 2013 SEC Golfer of the Year and SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a two-time NCAA Elite 89 Award winner as the golfer with the highest grade-point average (4.0) at the NCAA Championships. An at-large member of the 2013 Capital One Academic All-America team and a Cleveland Golf All-American Scholar, he is a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection and was named to the SEC Newcomer Academic Honor Roll in 2011. In 2013 he helped lead Alabama to the NCAA Championship and spent time as the world's No. 1 amateur while helping lead the United States to victory at the 2013 Walker Cup and Palmer Cup.

He is a four-year starter at Alabama, earning first team All-SEC in each of his first three years and consensus first team All-America honors in 2013 while gaining a second-team selection in 2011 and 2012. He was a member of the 2013 All-Nicklaus Team and the 2011 All-Mickelson Team, and he owns five career individual medalist honors, second most at Alabama and is third in school history in scoring average (71.45). The 2011 SEC Freshman of the Year, he has 16 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes in his career and has won three individual titles at the Linger Longer Invitational as well as the 2011 Western Refining All-American Classic and the 2013 Aggie Invitational.

In addition to those honors, the All-SEC team of nine players included four Crimson Tide players. Joining Shelton, Wyatt, and Whitsett was Trey Mullinax of Birmingham.

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