Tide Golf Hosts Pate Intercollegiate

College golf ordinarily is not much of a spectator sport. This week Alabama's men's golf team hosts one of the nation's most important fall tournaments in Birmingham and there is no admission charge. Nevertheless, it will be a surprise if a crowd is watching. That's partly because it is played on Monday and Tuesday.

For those who can arrange it, the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate at Old Overton Club in Vestavia Hills is well worth the effort. It was in the Pate tournament that state residents first had an opportunity to see Tiger Woods when he led his Stanford team. The event draws outstanding teams and individual players.

It has also been good for Coach Jay Seawell's Alabama Crimson Tide in recent years. Bama now ranks among the nation's elite, and that rating has been helped by the fact that Alabama has won the last three Pate tournaments.

This year Alabama is ranked fourth in the nation.

The 24th annual Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate again includes a strong field. Teams will play 36 holes on Monday and conclude with 18 holes on Tuesday.

The Crimson Tide has taken the team title at the Pate the past three years dating back to 2006.

Three Tide golfers who were a part of that championship effort last season are in the lineup this week led by sophomore Bud Cauley. Cauley finished tied for ninth at the JPNI last year and notched another top 10 finish in his only event this season with a tie for sixth at the PING/Golfweek Invitational.

Sophomores Hunter Hamrick and Hunter Slatton will also be making their second run at the JPI this week. The pair posted identical 209s (-1) at last year's event and finished tied for 11th. Sophomore Spencer Cole and redshirt freshman Lee Knox make up the remainder of the Tide lineup this week.

The field for the JPNI features 12 teams, four of which are ranked in the Golfworld/Nike top 25. Alabama enters as the highest ranked team at No. 4 followed by No. 11 Arkansas, No. 13 UNLV and No. 22 Texas. Auburn, East Tennessee State, Georgia State, Louisville, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, SMU and UAB make up the rest of the field.

The Jerry Pate Intercollegiate began back in 1986 and is named for the most successful professional golfer in Crimson Tide history. Pate currently plays on the Champions Tour and is active in the team selection for the tournament.

Since its inception, the JPI has seen some powerful names in the world of golf win its individual title. Current PGA Tour golfers Rory Sabbatini, Hunter Mahan and D.J. Trahan have all won medalist honors at the Pate, and Tiger Woods, won the JPI in 1994 while competing for Stanford. David Kirkpatrick (1991), Joseph Sykora (2006) and Mark Harrell (2007) all took medalist honors for Alabama.

The Crimson Tide finished 12th in its last outing at the PING/Golfweek Invitational. Live stats and updates for the Pate will be available at Golfstat.com.

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