April 27, 2014
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -The No. 1 Alabama men's golf team won its third straight SEC Championship and the fifth in school history Sunday with a 16-shot win on the par-70, 7,005-yard Seaside Course at the Sea Island Golf Club.
The Crimson Tide carded a 12-under 268 for a school and SEC Championship-record 806 (-34). LSU mounted a challenge in the final round, breaking UA's one-day old SEC record of 266 with a 263 (-17) on Sunday to finish second at 18-under 822.
"I am very proud of how this team played with a lead today," Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. "LSU turned in an outstanding round, but I was just so pleased with how our guys responded to that challenge. It is also a big deal to sleep on a big lead last night and come out today and play like champions - to play Alabama golf."
Senior Bobby Wyatt continued his flawless play to secure SEC medalist honors at 18-under 192. It marked both an Alabama and SEC Championship record. Wyatt finished the 54-hole SEC Championship without making a bogey and recording 18 birdies and 36 pars with rounds of 65, 61 and 66.
"It is a great feeling to get the win today, and a great feeling to win our third straight SEC title as a team," Wyatt said. "I have had a lot of close calls (individually) before and those disappointments have helped make me the player I am today. I would not change a thing about my career, and those close calls have definitely made me a better player."
"I played very well today. I did not make very many mistakes, and when I did, I was able to recover. I was in command of my emotions and it all kind of came together."
It was the first medalist honor for the Mobile native after five-career runner-up finishes and 17 top-five showings. The Ben Hogan Award finalist lowered his scoring average to 70.52 on the season and 16-below par.
"Bobby was in great command of his game and his emotions today," Seawell said. "It is so difficult to play with a big lead and to come out with a bogey-free 66 is a big deal. I am so proud and happy for him to get his first win at the SEC Championship."
Freshman Robby Shelton also carded a 4-under 66 on Sunday to finish alone in third place at 10-under-par 200 for his seventh top-five finish in 10 events this year. He lowered his scoring average to 70.10 on the year and 27-under par. Shelton played the first 54 holes of the SEC Championship without a bogey before recording a five on the par-4 18th hole Sunday.
Senior Cory Whitsett posted a top-10 finish as well with a final round, bogey-free 67 (-3) that left him tied for ninth at 4-under-par 206. Trey Mullinax shot 69 Sunday for the Tide's final counting score. He finished 2-under 208 and tied for 13th. Tom Lovelady shot 73 in the final round to finish tied for 43rd at 7-over 217.
Alabama's 806 broke the school scoring mark of 810 set at the 2007 Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate at the Old Overton Golf Club in Vestavia Hills, Ala. The 810 also set the SEC Championship scoring record, breaking Georgia's 2006 total of 826. The Crimson Tide's four counting scores for the three days amassed a staggering 46 birdies and just 13 bogeys.
Wyatt's 17-under-par 193 shattered Mark Harrell's previous record of 15-under 198 set at the same 2007 JPNI. He becomes just the third player in school history to crack the 200-scoring barrier for 54 holes. He joins Bobby Hill (1952), Michael Thompson (2008) and Justin Thomas (2012) as SEC medalists.
Auburn finished third in the team race at 11-under 829 while Georgia was fourth at 7-under 833 and South Carolina fifth at 2-under 838. LSU's Smylie Kaufman finished second individually at 11-under 199.
Both the Alabama men's and women's golf teams will learn their NCAA Regional Championship destinations on Monday, April 28, when The Golf Channel airs the selection show from 6-7 p.m.
"We are going to enjoy this win for about a week," Seawell said. "We have three seniors (Wyatt, Whitsett and Mullinax) graduating next Saturday and we will celebrate that with them and then get back to work. This is a senior-oriented team that understands how to get prepared this time of year."
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