Alabama wasn’t bad in the opening round of the NCAA Men’s Golf Tuscaloosa Regional Monday, but the Crimson Tide expected to do better than its fifth place position after 18 holes. Bama shot 4-over-par 292 and finds itself 8 strokes behind leading Georgia at Ol’ Colony Golf Complex in Tuscaloosa.
“The golf course was a little better than us, especially as we were coming in,” Alabama Coach Jay Seawell said. “I was real proud of them because we were able to hang in there. We need to take better advantage of some birdie holes. I think we were a little tight but all-in-all, it was not a bad day.”
Top-seeded and fifth-ranked Georgia carded a team total of 4-under par 284 and holds a three-stroke lead over No. 17 South Carolina (287) after the opening round of play. Kentucky is in third with an even par 288, while No. 29 UNLV (290) and Alabama (292) rounded out the top five.
The top five teams from each of 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.
Alabama will be paired with UNLV and Auburn in Tuesday’s second round and will tee off at 8:20 a.m. CDT over the Jerry Pate-designed 7,5214-yard, par 72 course.
There is no admission charge for spectators.
“I think there was some added pressure on our guys with the first round being today and we had a great crowd out here, which is a good thing,” Seawell said. “I think we will respond better (Tuesday). We have 36 more holes, so there is a lot of golf left to play. We had some guys who didn’t finish well, so we need to make sure our attitude is really good and not panic. I think we will make those adjustments and be ready to go tomorrow.”
Junior Robby Shelton led the Crimson Tide Monday, carding an opening round of 1-under par 71. Shelton, who is in a tie for ninth, was one of only 12 golfers to shoot below par. It marked the 18th round this season (out of 28) that Shelton was under par.
Sophomore Jonathan Hardee also had a solid first round, recording four bogeys and three birdies for a 1-over par 73. Hardee is in a tie for 18th.
Freshman Davis Riley and junior Dru Love are in a tie for 25th position after both carded rounds of 2-over par 74. Riley was at 1-under going into the final two holes, but suffered a double bogey on the 210-yard par 3 eighth hole (his 17th hole of the day) and a bogey on the 416-yard par 4 ninth. Meanwhile, Love had a solid finish to his round. After going 4-over on his front nine, he finished his back nine with three birdies and a bogey.
Senior Tom Lovelady rounded out the Crimson Tide golfers in 33rd position with a 3-over par 75.