Tide Men's Golf Wins Regional
"It feels great to get this victory and go into the NCAA Championships playing well," Alabama Coach Jay Seawell said following Saturday's final round. "We talked last night about having the mindset to play well and never give in, and I thought they took that to the course with them today. I just don't think they were going to let anyone beat them."
Redshirt freshman Hunter Hamrick completed the sweep for the Crimson Tide by claiming medalist honors with a 1-under-par total of 212. The Montgomery native equaled the course record on Saturday with a 4-under-par 67 that included birdies on the 16th and 17th holes to claim the one-stroke victory.
Hamrick started his round with three consecutive birdies and fired a 2-under-par 33 on the front nine. He then birdied the 11th hole and bogeyed the 14th. It was his first career tournament championship and Alabama's second medalist of the spring. Bud Cauley shared medalist honors at the United States Collegiate Championship in early April.
"Hunter (Hamrick) played incredible," Seawell said. "The kid from Tennessee (David Holmes) birdied the 16th hole and Hunter came right back and put a 3-wood within 20 feet and two putted for birdie. Then he put a 3-wood within three feet on the 249-yard par-3 to take the lead, and it was his tournament from there. He is playing with a lot of confidence right now."
The Crimson Tide qualified for the NCAA Championships and completed the 54-hole event with a 22-over-par score of 874, overcoming a five-stroke deficit to Tennessee entering the final round. The Volunteers finished second with an 11-over-par 295 on Saturday, four strokes back of Alabama at 26-over 878. Illinois finished third at 35-over 887 with Virginia fourth at 37-over 889 with Wake Forest claiming the NCAA Championship's final qualifying spot at 38-over-par 890.
The top five teams and the top individual not on an advancing team will qualify from each regional site for the NCAA Division I Men's Championship at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. The NCAA Championships run May 26-30, 2009.
Cauley finished tied for third with an even-par 71 on Saturday. The true freshman from Jacksonville, Fla., rallied over the final 18 holes for his third straight top-five finish.
He opened the tournament with an 8-over-par 79 in Thursday's first round, but responded by tying the course record with a 67 on Friday. Cauley began his third round with 10 consecutive pars before birdies on the 11th and 16th holes got him to 2-under but a double-bogey on the 18th left him at 4-over-par 217 for the tournament.
Redshirt freshman Spencer Cole turned in his lowest score of the regional with a 1-over-par 72 in the final round. He finished at 8-over 221 and in a tie for 11th place for the best finish of his young career.
Senior Matt Hughes finished tied for 19th for his top finish of the season at 11-over-par 224. Hughes carded a 5-over 76 in Saturday's final round. Fellow senior Matthew Swan was the Tide's No. 5 in the final round with an 8-over 79, finishing tied for 54th at 234.
Alabama Head Coach Jay Seawell Quotes from the NCAA Northeast Regional:
On placing first as a team, and qualifying for the national tournament:
"I'm very proud of my team; to win on such a great golf course makes it even more special. And it gives us a chance to play for a national championship which is every team's goal. I do want to thank Columbia University, and also Galloway National for being such great hosts. It was a great golf course, a great test and well run." On freshman Hunter Hamrick, who took first place individually:
"I'm very proud of Hunter. We had two guys shoot the course record this week, and they're both true freshmen, which is great. I think it will give him great confidence for the future, and hopefully the next week."
On looking forward to the national tournament:
"I think we're starting to get the confidence, and the look of a team that can do something special next week. This week, and last two weeks of our conference play, we're starting to put together rounds and the confidence that it takes to win a national championship."
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