Tide's Shelton Cruises To Impressive Win

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Sophomore Robby Shelton carded a season-low round of 7-under par 65 on Wednesday to cruise to his first medalist honor of the 2014-15 campaign at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters with a 15-under 201 (67-69-65).

No. 16 Alabama was 14th with a three-round total of 882 (288-295-299) on the par 72, 7,510-yard Southern Highlands Golf Club.

Shelton was fantastic throughout the three-day, 54-hole event. The Wilmer native, who entered tournament play ranked 10th in the nation, dominated the field on his way his fourth career victory. Shelton won the individual title by six strokes over Arizona State’s Jon Rahm (ranked No. 9) and Texas’ Beau Hossler (ranked No. 19), who both carded scores of 9-under par 207. The 15-team field featured 12 of the nation’s top 25 golfers.

Alabama head coach Jay Seawell raved about Shelton’s performance during the event.

“Robby was fantastic and I’m very proud of him,” Seawell said. “What a performance by him. He was really good on a really tough course. To go against one of the best fields in college golf and beat them pretty handedly, that’s just a credit to him.

“His confidence is very high and I think he was very determined to win this golf tournament. He knew that you had to be good; even after his first two rounds, he knew that he had to keep getting better if he was going to win.”

Shelton’s 15-under par was the lowest below-par score he’s had during his Alabama career, topping the 12-under par 204 he recorded at last year’s Puerto Rico Classic. Shelton finished just one stroke shy of his career-best 54-hole score of 200 (-10), which was set at the 2014 SEC Championship.

Sophomore Dru Love also had a solid tournament, as he tied for 39th place with a 2-over par 218 (72-72-74). Junior Tom Lovelady, who entered the event ranked 55th nationally, fought his way to a 76th-place finish with a 230 (75-77-78), while sophomores Robby Prater (74-82-82/230) and William Sellers (79-77-85/241) rounded out the Tide in 80th and 81st, respectively.

“We got off to a nice start, but our struggles started on the back nine on the first day,” Seawell said. “We just didn’t play very well. We are not used to that – it’s been a while since we’ve had a rough day in Alabama golf. That first round just kind of carried over.

“Our team needed to be ready to play and for us not to – that has to go on me as a coach. We will go back to work and make some changes that we need to make, and get ready for the Linger Longer Invitational.”

Fourth-ranked Texas (838) claimed this year’s team title by 10 strokes over No. 23 Oklahoma (848). Oklahoma State (855), ranked No. 23 in the nation, led after the second round and finished in a tie with No. 6 Arizona State (855) for third, while 16th-ranked UCLA (857) and top-ranked Illinois (858) rounded out the top teams in this year’s event.

The Tide will next be in action on March 21-22 when it competes at the 2015 Linger Longer Invitational held at Reynolds Landing Golf Club in Greensboro, Ga.

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