Alabama did make a late charge during Saturday’s final round, rising all the way to sixth position before stumbling down the stretch. Alabama recorded its lowest round of the three-day 54-hole event with a 3-under par 288 on Saturday, but it was not enough to finish among the top five teams which earned a spot among the 30 teams from six regionals (five teams from each region) to make Nationals.
“We just dug ourselves too big of a hole over the first two days to make up any ground today, even though we played well,” Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. “I am proud of the way our guys fought today. We had three guys in our lineup who made their debut in an NCAA tournament. I am happy with the way they fought and proud of the commitment they made throughout the whole year. I hate to see the season end. This has been an incredible run that we’ve been on but we knew it would end sometime. It just makes you hungrier to do some things next year and in the future.”
The nation’s top-ranked team Illinois and No. 24 SMU shared the Noblesville Regional championship title with both teams carding team totals of 4-under par 860. UNLV, ranked No. 33 in the nation, finished third at 863, following by No. 17 UCLA at 869 and No. 8 Oregon at 871.
Freshman Jonathan Hardee led the Crimson Tide as he tied for 11th overall with an even par 216 (75-70-71) on the par 72, 7,173-yard Sagamore Club course. It marks the second straight 11th-place finish for the SEC All-Freshman team honoree, as Hardee finished with the same result at the 2015 Southeastern Conference Championship two weeks ago.
Sophomore Dru Love also had a top-20 finish following an impressive 4-under par 68 on Saturday – the lowest round of any Crimson Tide golfer at the Regionals. Love closed play tied for 19th overall with a three-day total of 3-over par 219.
Sophomore Robby Shelton, who entered the tournament ranked sixth in the nation according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, finished tied for 33rd overall. Shelton closed the regional with a 1-under par 71 on Saturday and had a 54-hole total of 8-over par 224 (74-79-71) which tied for 33rd overall. Junior Tom Lovelady placed 48th with a 228 (74-79-75), while sophomore Robby Prater rounded out the Tide with a 65th-place finish at 238 (82-74-82).
Despite the disappointment of not reaching Nationals, Seawell sees a bright future for his program and particularly his young team.
“We return everyone from this team next season,” Seawell said. “We had a lot of adversity when dealing with injuries and with guys leaving the team. I thought the guys did a great job all season. We learned a lot this year that will help our team next year. We have a lot of talent coming in next season and that’s how you win, with talent. This week taught our group what it takes to be a championship team and what is needed to compete at the highest level. I am confident and excited for next season.”