Tide Golf Team Impressive In Win

RIO GRANDE, PUERTO RICO – Matthew Swan became the third different University of Alabama golfer to hoist an individual tournament championship trophy this season and his Crimson Tide teammates held up a team tournament championship trophy for the fourth time this season as the Alabama won the Puerto Rico Classic on Sunday.

Alabama finished at 10-under par on the par 72 Rio Mar Country Club course in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico to finish three shots ahead of top five-ranked Oklahoma State. Alabama shot 289-285-280/854 to win its second tournament in a row in just two tournament appearances this spring. It has now tied the four tournament championships it won last season. One more win would set a school record as the 2008 team now ties the 2007 and 1972 Alabama golf teams for most single season team tournament championships. Alabama won the Carpet Capital Collegiate on September 16, the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate on October 9 and the John Hayt Intercollegiate on February 19. It has won each of those tournaments using a different lineup, so deep is the Tide this season.

In Puerto Rico Alabama used for the first time in the six stroke play events it has played this season the same lineup of five golfers who finished sixth at the 2007 NCAA Championships. Swan, a Montgomery native was among those and on Sunday he claimed his first individual tournament championship when he bested the field of 75 individuals with his 12-under par finish, winning by five shots over Oklahoma State's Rickie Fowler who finished second at 7-under. Swan shot 66-71-67/204 to win.

He became the third different Tide golfer to win an individual championship this season. With a 14-under par finish, Joseph Sykora won the Topy Cup, an international tournament in Japan that featured U.S. colleges going against Japanese universities. Mark Harrell was co-champion of the Jerry Pate, setting a school 54-hole record with his 198 score, a 15-under par finish. Only one other time in Alabama golf history have three different golfers won individual championships in the same season. Alabama's 1974 team saw Jerry Pate win two championships and both Alan Pate and Tony Hollifield win individual championships.

Joining Swan in the top 10 individuals at the Puerto Rico classic was his teammate Michael Thompson, winner of four collegiate individual titles as a golfer at Tulane as a freshman and sophomore. The 2007 U.S. Amateur finalist saved his best round for last, shooting 5-under, 67, on Sunday. Thompson finished tied for 10th (74-72-67/213). Sykora shot 68 on Sunday and finished tied for 31st (77-75-68/220). Harrell finished tied for 47th (75-67-82/224) and Gator Todd finished tied at 57th (74-75-778/227).

The field of 15 teams included seven nationally ranked teams, including Alabama. Georgia is ranked No. 1 in both the Golfweek and Golf World rankings. Alabama is No. 2/No. 3. Clemson is No. 16/No. 13; Duke No. 13/No. 12; East Tennessee State No. 24/No. 29; and Georgia Tech No. 6/No. 8 and No. 4/No. 5 Oklahoma State.

In the final team results, Alabama was first, 854, followed by Oklahoma State, 857, Georgia, 861, Duke, 863, East Tennessee State, 867, Michigan, 870, Georgia Tech, 871, Clemson, 875, North Carolina State, 876, Virginia Tech, 878, Texas, 881, Northwestern, 884, Kent State, 886, Minnesota, 904, and Purdue, 911.

Alabama's next event is the March 14-16 E-Z-Go Schenkel Invitational in Statesboro, Ga.

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