Alabama Men’s Golf Overcomes Handicap

The Alabama men’s golf team of Coach Jay Seawell has ranked among the nation’s best in recent years, but this year’s team is ranked only 17th in the nation in the preseason. Not only that, the Crimson Tide was handicapped by not having its best player in the opening fall tournament.

Alabama has had good success in a major fall men’s golf tournament in recent years, and after one round on Friday the Crimson Tide was at 289, one-over-par, and tied for second in the Carpet Capital Collegiate in Rocky Face, Ga.

Bama’s strong play in its opening round of the 2015-16 season came despite playing without two-time All-America Robby Shelton, who is in Lancashire, England competing as a member of the 2015 United States Walker Cup team.

With its top player out for the weekend, Alabama’s senior captain Tom Lovelady and freshman Davis Riley both stepped up with matching scores of 3-under par 69 on the day on the par 72, 7,012-yard Farm Golf Club course. The tandem enters Saturday’s second round in a tie for second overall.

Lovelady was steady throughout, shooting even par on the front nine, followed by a 3-under par 33 on the back nine. The Mountain Brook native’s day was highlighted by an eagle on the par 5 498-yard 12th hole and a birdie on the par 5 518-yard 15th hole.

Riley made an instant impact in his first collegiate tournament, as he recorded a pair of eagles over a span of four holes on the back nine. After a pair of bogeys and a birdie left him at one-over par 37 on the front nine, Riley eagled the 12th and 15th holes to result in a 4-under par 32 on the back nine.

Sophomore Jonathan Hardee finished the day at 3-over par 75 and is in a tie for 32nd, while junior Dru Love is in a tie for 41st after carding a 4-over 76 on the day. Love played steady through 17 holes, but a triple bogey on hole No. 18 resulted in his final score. Sophomore Tyler Hitchner rounded out the Tide with a 7-over par 79 and is in a tie for 63rd heading into the second round.

Alabama, which is one of 11 teams in the 15-team field ranked among the top 40 in the nation, is in a tie with No. 6 South Carolina (289) through one round. Tournament-host and 12th-ranked Georgia Tech leads the field by three shots after carding a team total of 2-under par 286. Defending national champion No. 9 LSU (291) is in fourth, while No. 16 Auburn (293) rounds out the top five.

The Tide will tee off the second round on Hole No. 1 at 10 a.m. ET (9 a.m. CT) and will be paired with Georgia Tech and South Carolina. Live stats can be found throughout the weekend on

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