Alabama Men’s Golf Coach Jay Seawell knows the drill. The Crimson Tide will be playing in the NCAA Championship Tournament Friday through Wednesday, June 1, at Eugene (Oregon) Country Club 6,847-yard, par 72. On Tuesday, Seawell and his team took off for Oregon to begin testing the course; and to get accustomed to the weather.
“We’re flying out into late October, early November weather,” Seawell said. It will be in the 50s and 60s, not like Tuscaloosa. It’s a new element for all of us.”
This is Alabama’s 18th appearance in the national tournament and nine of them have been under Seawell – eight in the last 10 years. The Crimson Tide won national championships in 2013 and 2014 and was runner-up to Jordan Speith-led Texas in 2012.
Seawell also plans to get a scouting report on the course from Alabama Women’s Coach Mic Potter, whose Crimson Tide just finished playing on the course in the NCAA Championships. “We’ll give them some time to decompress,” Seawell said of the women, who finished tied for 12th. “Mic and I have already exchanged some texts and we watched the women’s tournament on television. We’ll communicate in the next 24 hours.”
Alabama is taking a strong team to the tournament -- junior Robby Shelton who has a season-long average of 70.57, freshman Davis Riley 71.64, senior Tom Lovelady 72.55, junior Dru Love, and sophomore Jonathan Hardee 73.6.
The Tide is coming off a third place finish in the NCAA Regional, played on Bama’s home course, Ol’ Colony in Tuscaloosa. That followed a disappointing 11th place finish in the Southeastern Conference tournament.
“I’m pleased with the way we rebounded in the Regional,” Seawell said. “We’re trending in the right direction.”
It was something of a surprise that Bama’s leader in the NCAA Regional was freshman Riley Davis, who was fourth individually at 6-under-par. He was second in the field in birdies with 16 and fifth in par-4 scoring average at –5. His round included his career-best 5-under 67.
“It has been great to watch him mature through the year,” Seawell said. “He was slowly taking steps and then about 30 days ago he was no longer a freshman. He’s a superstar in the making.
“Riley is a big factor in what we do this week.”
Although Robby Shelton confessed he had been working out some putting issues, he finished the Regional at 1-under-par, his 18th career tournament under par and 23rd career top 10 finish in 33 events.