Tide Golf Hosting Jerry Pate Tourney

Twelve collegiate men's golf teams have converged in Birmingham where they will begin play Monday morning in the 54-hole Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate at Old Overton Club. The University of Alabama is the tournament host.

The public is invited. Admission is free. Teams play 36 holes on Monday and the final 18 holes on Tuesday.

Sunday marked the practice round for the 12 teams, six of whom are nationally ranked, including The University of Alabama which is No. 8 in the Golf World/NIKE Golf Coaches Poll and No. 10 in the Golfweek Sagarin ratings.

Later Sunday evening the golfers gathered at Old Overton Club for the tournament's annual banquet where Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz was the keynote speaker. Smoltz, an avid golfer who finished second at a club tournament championship on Sunday afternoon before catching a plane to Birmingham for the banquet that night, told the golfers and tournament patrons at the dinner that his goal is to play on the PGA's Champions Tour in nine years.

The 41-year-old told the golfers that he'd announced to his family at age seven that he was going to be a professional baseball player and was announcing to them at age 41 that he was going to play on the Champions Tour noting that his first prediction had come true.

His speech included a message about the importance of setting different levels of goals, from the seemingly unattainable to the attainable so as to never become complacent. He also shared stories of his many golf outings with Tiger Woods and the pitcher fielded questions from the golfers at the end of his speech.

He was at the banquet as a special guest of the tournament's namesake, former Crimson Tide golfer Jerry Pate, who introduced Smoltz to the audience. Pate, the 1974 U.S. Amateur and World Amateur Champion, played on the PGA Tour and is currently playing on the Champions Tour. Pate told the audience the two met through their mutual doctor, James Andrews of Birmingham, who has worked with both through shoulder injuries.

The tournament officially opened at 7:30 a.m. CDT on Monday. Starting on the No. 1 tee and playing together will be Georgia State, Samford and North Florida. At the No. 10 tee at 7:30 a.m. will be UAB, Memphis and the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.

Alabama's golfers tee off from the No. 1 tee at 8:20 a.m. with Hunter Slatton on the tee first, followed in 10 minute intervals, by Phillip Weaver, Hunter Hamrick , Bud Cauley and Matthew Swan. Alabama is paired with UNLV and Southern Methodist University. At No. 10 at 8:20, Auburn will tee off, paired with North Carolina and Baylor.

The second round will begin at approximately 12:30 p.m. Alabama is the tournament's defending team champion.

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