Junior Robby Shelton was the bright spot for the Alabama men’s golf team on what Crimson Tide Coach Jay Seawell called a “disappointing” third round in the NCAA Golf Tournament in Eugene, Oregon. Bama will not be advancing to the fourth round and is out of the tournament after a disastrous 22-over-par round just a day after Alabama had been 1-over-par as a team.
Shelton, one of the nation’s top players, carded a third round score of 2-over par 72 on Sunday and is position to become Alabama’s first individual national men’s golf champion with a three-round total of 2-under par 208 (70-66-72). Shelton, who is in a tie for fourth overall after 72 holes, will compete as an individual in Monday’s fourth and final round of stroke play.
The Crimson Tide team finished tied for 23rd at 871 (290-279-302).
The top 15 teams in the 30-team field along with the nine highest individuals not associated with an advancing team move on to compete in the final round. Alabama missed the cut by just four strokes. Shelton will be the top individual seed heading into the final round of stroke play.
“Simply put, we just did not play well as a team and that’s disappointing,” Alabama Coach Jay Seawell said. “It’s the NCAA Championships and today was an important round. We didn’t come out from the start like we wanted. When we got behind, it just snowballed. I am still proud of our guys. They battled every hole they played and I can’t ask more than that as a coach. Golf is a hard game. I thought the guys gave a great effort, but unfortunately we just didn’t have it today.
“Robby played great for us all week, so I am happy he is advancing to compete as an individual,” Seawell said. “He had a couple of bad holes on the front nine and that probably threw him off a little. I thought he rallied over his last nine holes but was just unable to make any putts for birdies. We just didn’t putt well as an entire team and that was probably the biggest thing against our team.”
Shelton rode a streak of 33 consecutive holes without a bogey that spanned from his ninth hole on Friday’s opening round to the sixth hole of Sunday’s third round. In fact, the Wilmer native carded a bogey-free round of 66 on Saturday and is the only player in the field to play an entire round without recording a bogey.
Sophomore Jonathan Hardee had a strong tournament, despite shooting a third round score of 8-over par 78. The Greer, S.C., native entered the day in a tie for sixth and moved to as a high as fourth place on the leaderboard with birdies on two of his first six holes. However, he could not sustain that pace, closing the day with bogeys on eight of his final 12 holes. Hardee finished the tournament tied for 62nd with a three-day total of 7-over par 217 (70-69-78).
Freshman Davis Riley ended a solid freshman season for Alabama, as the all-conference honoree finished at 9-over par 219. Junior Dru Love finished at 228 (76-75-77), while senior Tom Lovelady closed out his sensational career with a 229 (75-76-78) on the par 70, 7,014-yard Eugene Country Club course.
Vanderbilt (845), ranked eighth in the country entering this year’s championship, holds the overall lead after 72 holes by two strokes over No. 2 Texas (847). Third-ranked Southern Cal (850) is in third, followed by No. 12 LSU (851) and No. 20 Oregon (852).