Top-Ranked Tide Golf At Texas
Alabama will be competing without its All-American golfer and low stroke leader, Michael Thompson (70.10). Thompson is in Augusta, Ga., where he is competing as an amateur at the 2008 Masters Tournament. Representing the Crimson Tide will be Matthew Swan (72.44), Mark Harrell (72.50), Joseph Sykora (73.33), Gator Todd (74.06) and Matt Hughes (72.53).
Harrell is the only Tide golfer who has competed in every regular season tournament for Alabama, winner of five of its eight stroke-play events this season. The Tide has won the five tournaments with five different lineups. Three of its golfers, Swan, Harrell and Sykora, have all won individual tournament championships this season.
"Michael will be at the Masters, so this gives us one more chance to look at the three guys who are battling for the two spots," said Alabama Coach Jay Seawell who perhaps has the deepest talent in the nation. "It gives us an opportunity to watch Joseph, Gator and Matt Hughes who have all played really well for us all year long. It lets us see them again in a tournament setting before we make our decision on the final two spots for the SEC."
The SEC Championships are April 18-20 at Sea Island, Ga., where Alabama will contend for the title in a field that includes six of the nation's top 13 ranked teams.
This is the first time Alabama has competed in the Morris Williams tournament.
"We're looking forward to the trip and the tournament. It's a good tournament and a good field. This is the first time we've participated in it, so there's some unknown in it as far as the course and all, but I think we're all looking forward to the experience," said Seawell. "It worked well in our schedule. I wanted to get a tournament about two weeks before the SEC's, so this was a perfect fit."
This week Alabama is ranked No. 1 in all three of collegiate golf's major polls, those by Golfweek, Golf World and Golf Stat. It's a place Alabama has been before, both last season and, more recently, in March. "I think it's a tribute to the guys. I think the guys have done a fabulous job of accepting that role a little bit more. I think last year we got a little bit more caught up in the hoopla of being number one. It was our first time. I think they understand it's an honor, but, realistically, it doesn't mean very much except to mamas and daddies, boosters, fans, and the University and coaches a little bit. But to the players, we've got a long way to go until the end of championship season."
The field at the 42nd Annual Morris Williams Intercollegiate includes Alabama, Auburn, Brigham Young, Central Florida, Fresno State, Louisville, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Pepperdine, Texas, TCU, Texas Tech, Tulsa, San Diego and UNLV. Six of the 15 teams are ranked. Those include, with their Golf World/Nike Coaches poll rankings listed first and the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings listed second, No. 1/No. 1 Alabama, No. 6/No. 6 Oklahoma State, No. 12/No. 15 Auburn, No. 16/No. 14 UNLV, No. 22/No. 28 Texas Tech and No. 25/No. 19 Louisville.
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