In what Alabama Coach Jay Sewell described as “a draining, emotional day,” the Crimson Tide men’s golf team fell to No. 15 Texas A&M, 3-2, on Sunday in the match play semifinals of the 2017 Southeastern Conference Men’s Golf Championship. The sixth-seeded Alabama team advanced to the semifinals with a 3-1-1 upset of seventh-ranked and No. 3 seed LSU earlier in the day.
The match play format for the top eight teams after medal play is being used for the first time in the SEC Tournament. It is the format that is used at the NCAA Championship Tournament. The SEC tourney was played over the 7,005-yard, par-70 Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Ga. Both the quarterfinals and semifinals were held Sunday.
Juniors Jonathan Hardee and Lee Hodges each finished the day with perfect 2-0 marks in the new match play tournament format. Hardee defeated LSU’s Philip Barbaree, 1up, in the early round prior to his 2up triumph over Texas A&M’s Dan Erickson in the afternoon. Hodges was equally as good, capturing a pair of 1up victories over LSU’s Sam Burns and Texas A&M’s Brandon Smith.
Redshirt freshman Josh Sedeno split his two matches on the day. After securing a 1up win in 21 holes over the Tigers’ Eric Ricard, he dropped his match against the Aggies’ Andrew Paysse, 2up. Sophomore Davis Riley finished his morning matchup with LSU’s Brandon Pierce all square, but fell to Chandler Phillips, 3up, in the afternoon. Junior Steven Setterstrom lost his matches against LSU’s Luis Gagne (3up) and Cameron Champ (1up).
“Our guys have done a phenomenal job of making themselves an NCAA-caliber team,” Coach Seawell said. “We’ll go home and rest a couple of days – today was a draining, emotional day. The guys need a couple days off, get their school in order so that they are ready for exams. We will find out soon where we are going to go for regionals. Once we know that, we will focus on getting back to work and getting ready for the second part of the championship season which is the NCAAs.”
Texas A&M will square off against top-seeded Vanderbilt, which knocked off No. 4 seed Florida 3-2 in the semis, in Monday’s championship round.
“I thought the new format was a home run,” Seawell said. “I think it’s something that will make our championship even more precious – and harder to win. Watching today’s action and seeing all those student-athletes, especially our team, compete for that trophy was awesome. I look forward to battling many more times in this new format.”
Alabama will now await its postseason fate. The NCAA Regionals will be announced in early May.