In almost all sports, Alabama is a national team, including nationally ranked, and the Crimson Tide plays a national schedule. Moreover, the Crimson Tide of Coach Jay Seawell has a national championship history with two NCAA titles, in 2013 and 2014.
But when Alabama tees off on Monday at the 2016 NCAA Men’s Golf Regional at Tuscaloosa’s Ol’ Colony, the Crimson Tide will be in Southeastern Conference company. Alabama will be paired with Kentucky, one of five Southeastern Conference members in Tuscaloosa, and with UNLV. The teams will begin teeing off at 8:22 a.m. CDT on the 10th hole. There is no admission charge for spectators.
The 54-hole tournament will be played Monday-Wednesday.
Alabama will also be on a familiar course, its home course. Designed by former Alabama and PGA golf star Jerry Pate, the 7,514-yard, par-72 Ol’ Colony layout is adjacent to Bama’s practice facility.
The top five teams from each of the six regional sites and the top individual finisher not on an advancing team will move on to the NCAA Men’s Golf National Championship, which will be played in Eugene, Ore., on May 27-June 1.
This year’s appearance marks the Tide’s 12th consecutive invitation to NCAA postseason competition and 25th appearance overall in the tournament. Alabama will be attempting to rebound from a poor performance in the Southeastern Conference championship where the Tide finished 11th.
Alabama has won four NCAA Regionals, including three straight before faltering in the 2015 Noblesville Regional. The Tide captured the 2009 NCAA Galloway (N.J.) Regional, the 2012 NCAA Athens, Ga., Regional, the 2013 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional and the 2014 NCAA Auburn Regional. Last year marked the first time since 2010 that Alabama failed to reach nationals.
The 13-team regional features five Southeastern Conference schools. In addition to fourth seed and 19th-ranked Alabama, they are SEC champion and No. 1 seed Georgia, which enters the event ranked No. 3 in the nation; Auburn, ranked No. 12 in the nation, is the No. 2 seed, followed by No. 3 seed and 14th-ranked South Carolina. The rest of the field includes No. 5 UNLV, No. 6 Kentucky, No. 7 Kansas, No. 8 College of Charleston, No. 9 Lipscomb, No. 10 Charleston Southern, No. 11 Colorado, No. 12 Harvard and No. 13 Southern Illinois.
Alabama is led by All-America Robby Shelton, a junior who averages just under par for his 27 rounds this year. The rest of the Crimson Tide lineup will be freshman Davis Riley, senior Tom Lovelady, sophomore Jonathan Hardee, and junior Dru Love.