Ordinarily, finishing 12 strokes behind the winning team would not be a cause for optimism, but Alabama’s final round in the Southeastern Conference Women’s Golf Championship was spectacular.
The Alabama women’s golf team set an SEC championship record with a blistering 13-under par final round on Sunday to tie for second place at the 2017 SEC Tournament at the 6,202-yard, par-72 Legacy Course at Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham.
The final round 13-under par 275 by the Crimson Tide is a new SEC Women’s Golf Championship record for score and score vs. par. The previous record was an 11-under par 277 by Texas A&M in the second round of the 2015 championship, which was also played at Greystone.
Alabama (295-285-275/855) opened Sunday’s final round in seventh place at 4-over par but posted a 6-under par front nine to move to 2-under at the turn. The Crimson Tide continued its strong play on the back nine, with a 7-under par finish to vault into second place at 9-under par. Alabama finished with a tournament-leading 58 birdies over the three rounds and also posted two eagles.
The Florida Gators shot 10-under par on Sunday to finish at 22-under par (284-280-278/842) for the tournament and earn the 2017 championship. Georgia (287-282-286/855) finished tied with Alabama at 9-under par after a 2-under par final round. Arkansas (283-287-287/857) finished fourth at 7-under par. Texas A&M (282-290-288/860) and South Carolina (286-290-284/860) tied for fifth at 4-under par.
“We’ve gotten progressively better,” Bama Coach Mic Potter said following the round. “We hit a lot of fairways and putted better today and gave ourselves more opportunities. The course was not as fast and was more receptive today. I like to think the first day was an anomaly and this is the way we play. Hopefully we continue that way going forward. Today needed to be special for us to have a chance to win but it was still pretty good. Most importantly, we wanted to establish momentum and confidence because our most important tournaments are coming up.”
Sophomore Cheyenne Knight led the Tide on Sunday with a 6-under par day to tie for fifth place at 5-under par (75-70-66--211). Her final round 66 was her ninth round in the 60s this season. Freshman Kristen Gillman tied for seventh at 4-under par (72-69-71--211). Gillman’s 1-under par round on Sunday included an eagle on the par-5, 463-yard 11th hole. Sophomore Lauren Stephenson (74-72-67--213) posted a 5-under par round to tie for 13th and equal Knight with her ninth round in the 60s this season. Senior Mia Landegren (75-74-71--220) carded a 1-under par round to tie for 30th. Junior Lakareber Abe (74-80-72--226) was even-par on Sunday and tied for 50th.
Alabama will play its final regular season tournament next Saturday when it participates in a one-day match play tournament in Glencoe, Ill. Participating teams include host Northwestern, Duke and Florida State.