It wasn’t the Alabama’s men’s golf team’s goal to finish sixth in stroke play at the Southeastern Conference Tournament at St. Simon’s Island, Ga. But following the first three rounds of the tournament, that’s where the Crimson Tide ranks. And in a sense it doesn’t matter.
In the new SEC format, which reflects the change in the NCAA Tournament, the first three rounds of medal play were just to eliminate six teams and get the tournament into match play for the title.
Coach Jay Sewell’s Crimson Tide finished in sixth place following 54 holes of stroke play with a team total of 11-over par 851 (275-288-288). That was good enough to advance to the match play portion beginning Sunday morning.
Alabama will face third-seeded LSU in the quarterfinals on Sunday morning. The winner of that match will advance to the semifinals, which will be played in the afternoon. The championship match will take place on Monday morning, with the winner earning the league title and the SEC’s automatic birth to the NCAA Championships.
“This is a new format this year and we are excited to get through stroke play and advance to match play,” Seawell said. “These last two days have been different in terms of how we have approached any other tournament this year. I think our guys have battled through a lot of adversity this year and now we have the opportunity to play a tough LSU team in the first round of match play. We are excited to get it started Sunday morning.”
Sophomore Davis Riley led the Tide golfers with an 11th-place finish in stroke play after carding a tournament total of 2-under par 208 (66-72-70). Riley, who opened the event with 30 consecutive bogey-free holes and shot a career-low round of 66 during Friday’s first 18 holes of play, collected his fourth consecutive top-12 tournament finish.
Redshirt freshman Josh Sedeno tied for 27th overall after carding a three-round total of 214 (68-75-71). Juniors Lee Hodges (73-69-74) and Jonathan Hardee (69-74-73) tied for 36th position with a matching 6-over par 216. Junior Steven Setterstrom rounded out the Tide’s scoring in 60th with a 224 (72-73-79) on the par-70, 7,005-yard Seaside Course.
Third-ranked Vanderbilt shot 8-under par during Saturday’s final round of stroke play and earned the top seed in match play with a 54-hole total of 11-under par 829. Texas A&M, ranked 15th in the nation, was second at 5-under 835, while No. 7 LSU was third with an 837. Sixth-ranked Florida (838) finished fourth, followed by No. 30 South Carolina (845), No. 37 Alabama (851), No. 23 Ole Miss (852) and No. 26 Missouri (852) to round out the top eight teams advancing to match play, respectively.
The match play portion of this year’s SEC Championship will begin on Sunday morning with top-seeded Vanderbilt going head-to-head with eighth-seeded Missouri. Second-seeded Texas A&M takes on No. 7-seed Ole Miss. The Tide and Tigers will be the 3 vs. 6 match up, while the 4 vs. 5 contest will pit Florida against South Carolina.
Alabama and LSU will tee off its match at 8:20 a.m. ET (7:20 a.m. CT) off Hole No. 10.