New Coach Posts Tourney Win

It didn't take long for head coach Mic Potter to make an impact on the Crimson Tide women's golf program. But after two rounds at the Tide's own Ann Rhoads Intercollegiate, it looked like a trophy would be a few weeks in coming.

That was before his Crimson Tide team had put together one of the most improbable come-from-behind victories in team history. The miraculous effort helped the Tide erase a 12-shot deficit and win the team crown at the Ann Rhoads Intercollegiate in Potter's very first tournament as head man at the Capstone.

Potter, who won 35 tournaments in 23 years at Furman, chalked up his 36th team title, and his first for the Tide, after his Alabama squad posted a 298 in final round action at the Ol' Colony Golf Complex in Tuscaloosa. The Tide finished with a 54-hole total of 900, enough to win the event by six strokes.

The championship marked the first time that Alabama had won as the host school of the Ann Rhoads Intercollegiate in three tries. It was also the first team championship for the Tide since February of 2004, when Alabama won the title at the Saguaro Cactus Classic.

Like most of the spectators at the event, Potter was surprised to see his team at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the event. And as is typical of a Hall-of-Fame coach, he recognized that Alabama could have been even better.

"It's funny, I had no idea how close it was," Potter said. "I was kind of surprised because I felt like we made a lot of mistakes today. It was great to get a win, even though we feel we can play a lot better than we did today."

Augusta State, who had led the event for the opening two rounds and looked to have the team title sewn up, stumbled in the final round to open the door for Alabama. The Jaguars posted a 316 in the third round after shooting team rounds of 297 and 293 on the first two days of action.

"We came into today thinking that we had a great shot to win," Augusta State head coach Trelle McCombs said. "We started with two great days but struggled today. I think we got a little ahead of ourselves and didn't do the same things today that we did the last two days and that caught up with us."

Birmingham Southern capped off a strong performance by firing a 301 in final-round action to tie Augusta State. Mississippi State and East Carolina rounded out the top five in team scoring.

The Tide victory effort was fueled by a roster that posted solid, if not spectacular scores in the final round. None of the top four Alabama players set a career high in the third round, yet each were able to finish in the top 20 after workmanlike efforts that earned them a team trophy in the first outing of the season.

Jenny Suh, who like Potter was making her Crimson Tide debut at the Ann Rhoads Intercollegiate, led Alabama by posting a 221 at the event. She carded a one-over par 73 in her final round to help her to a fifth-place finish in the individual standings. "Jenny has been good tee-to-green, but has struggled putting this week," Potter said. "I commend her for how she got around the golf course today. She really came through for us."

Suh, a second-team All-American for Potter at Furman last season, made her initial appearance in crimson and white a memorable one, as she earned her 13th career top-10 finish.

"I didn't feel that I played my best," Suh said. "But I guess that shows improvement when I'm no longer happy with scores around par. It feels very good to get Mic and coach Rosenstiel a win in their first tournament together."

Another key performance came from senior Carina Sorensen. The Norrhammar, Sweden, native knocked eight strokes off of her second-round 80 to card a 72, helping her to a three-round tally of 226 and a 10th-place finish.

"Carina is a real talent," Potter said. "She is long and has a lot of different shots, but she isn't as confident as I'd like for her to be. Maybe today's performance will help her with that."

Sorensen, who set a 54-hole career mark with her 226 effort, also notched just the second top-10 finish of her career. She carded a 34 on the front nine to propel her to her career effort.

"Things were going my way today," Sorensen said. "It felt good to finish off strong. I was calm and made some solid shots down the stretch."

Audrey Gale, another senior for the Tide, jumped seven places in the final round after an impressive 74. Gale carded rounds of 77 and 76 on the first two days to help her to a 227 and an 11th-place finish.

Sarah Sturm, who also made her debut for the Tide, rebounded from a rough start this morning to post a 79 in the final round. The sophomore, who was a top-10 finisher in the Southern Conference Championship last year, finished with a three-round total of 231 and tied for 19th place.

True freshman Laura Goodwin rounded out the Tide lineup for the event. The rookie notched rounds of 81, 75 and 83 to finish with a 239 for the tournament. The effort placed her in a tie for 47th place.

Another highlight for the Tide was the performances of the players competing on an individual basis.

Amy Middleton, a junior, was in the top 10 after two rounds after posting a 75 on both days. Middleton carded an 83 in the final round to finish with a 233 for the tournament, tying her for 26th-place.

Taylor Bunnell, another true freshman, also had a solid final round for Alabama. Bunnell came back from an 83 in her second round by firing a 77 in third-round action, helping her to a 43rd-place tie.

Lisa Andrzejewski, a junior from Orchard Park, N.Y., also competed for the Tide as an individual.

Garrett Phillips of Augusta State earned medalist honors at the Ann Rhoads Intercollegiate after recording a 213. Phillips defeated UNC-Wilmington's Michelle Jarman, who took runner-up honors, by five strokes. Lene Krog of East Carolina and Jill Stupiansky of Birmingham Southern rounded out the top five in individual competition.

Potter and the Crimson Tide will have a month to savor the victory, as the team will not compete until Oct. 21-23, when they will play in the Mercedes-Benz Classic. The event, hosted by the University of Tennessee, will be played in Knoxville, Tenn.

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