May 26, 2014
HUTCHINSON, Kan. - Alabama carded a 4-over-par 284 in the third and final round of stroke play at the NCAA Men's Golf Championships on Monday to earn the No. 2 seed in match play on the par-70, 6,941-yard Prairie Dunes Country Club.
The Crimson Tide finished 4-under 836 to tie with LSU for second place as Stanford (-1, 279) clinched the No. 1 seed at 13-under-par 827. Oklahoma State finished fourth at even-par 840 to earn the fourth seed while Georgia Tech is fifth at 1-over 841. UCLA finished sixth at 4-over 844 while SMU and Illinois tied for eighth at 5-over 845 with the Mustangs earning the No. 7 seed.
"The key was to get to match play and I'm happy we did that," Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. "We didn't play great today, but I am really proud of Robby. He birdied the last two holes and maybe saved us a seed or two. A third-place finish at NCAA Championships for a true freshman is a big deal.
Robby Shelton posted the low round of the day with a 68, sinking birdie on the 17th and 18th holes. He finished tied for third overall at 5-under 205, recording the highest finish by an Alabama player at the NCAA Championships since Jerry Pate finished second in 1975.
Shelton hit his second shot into the par 5 17th hole and left it in the rough on the short side. He flopped it out for two feet and made the downhill putt to get to 1-under. Shelton drove it into the middle of the fairway on the 18th, and hit his approach shot to six feet. He then drained it for a 68.
Cory Whitsett and Tom Lovelady both carded 1-over-par rounds of 71 in the final round while Bobby Wyatt carded a 4-over 74 for the final counting score. Trey Mullinax shot 75 and was dropped from the team score.
Whitsett finished tied for 19th at 1-under 209 after rounds of 70, 68 and 71. Lovelady tied for 35th at 1-over 211, shooting grounds of 67, 73 and 71. Wyatt finished tied for 55th at 4-over 214 while Mullinax tied for 89th at 8-over 219.
The Crimson Tide will face SMU in Tuesday's quarterfinals that will tee off at 7 a.m. (CDT). Alabama is on the same side of the bracket as No. 3 LSU and No. 6 UCLA. Stanford will play last year's runner-up Illinois in the quarterfinals while Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech will square off. The semifinal round is slated for Tuesday afternoon.
"You hope that the match play experience that our team has will help," Seawell said. "Cory and Bobby have Walker Cup experience along with two NCAA Match Play Finals and with Trey last year at the NCAAs. They have an understanding of what match play will be like, how intense everything will be, and how each match will be decided by a shot here or there. We will lean on that experience, and I am thankful for that because I do think it will play a key role."
Golf Channel will carry the semifinal round in primetime (4-7 p.m.) while live stats will be available at NCAA.com, GolfChannel.com and Golfstat.com.
Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaMGolf, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.
Alabama vs. SMU Quarterfinal Match
Bobby Wyatt vs. Austin Smotherman, 7 a.m.
Robby Shelton vs. Andrew Buchanan, 7:10 a.m.
Tom Lovelady vs. Harry Higgs, 7:20 a.m.
Trey Mullinax vs. Bryson Dechambeau, 7:30 a.m.
Cory Whitsett vs. Ryan Burgess, 7:40 a.m.