May 27, 2014
HUTCHINSON, Kan. - Alabama overcame an early deficit to defeat No. 7-seeded SMU on Tuesday morning and advance to the semifinals of the NCAA Men's Golf Championships on the par-70, 6,941-yard Prairie Dunes Country Club.
"The hardest part about match play is match can go either way," Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. "The tide goes back and forth all the time, so you just try to stay in the moment. You just have to stay in the present and let the players play. What a great match this morning. Josh (Gregory) has won two national championships for a reason, his team is well coached, and it was a hard fought win."
The Crimson Tide received match-play wins from Bobby Wyatt (3 and 2), Cory Whitsett (5 and 4) and Robby Shelton (2 up). Alabama will face third-seeded LSU in Tuesday semifinal that will tee off at 1:30 p.m. (CDT). The Tigers defeated sixth-seeded UCLA 4-1 in the quarterfinals.
"An SEC team is going to be in the final, which is a big deal," Seawell said. "We have a lot of pride in our conference. LSU finished runner-up to us in the SEC, so I guess it is the two best teams in the SEC this afternoon. We are familiar with each other, all the guys know each other, and we look forward to a great match."
Wyatt went off first for Alabama and jumped out to an early lead while Whitsett did the same in the fifth match. Wyatt was 2 up and the turn, won the 15th to go 3 up and closed Austin Smotherman out with a par on the 16th. Whitsett went up six through 12 and after losing the 13th, finished off the Mustangs' Ryan Burgess by halving with par on the 14th.
Shelton, a true freshman from Wilmer, Ala., fell behind early and fought his way back after spending much of the front nine down two. He won the eighth, but found himself down two again after losing the 11th hole. That is when Shelton found his stroke, winning the 13th with par and chipping in from behind the green on the par 3 15th hole. Shelton hit his approach to 12 feet on the 16th and sank the putt to move to 1 up and his first lead of the match.
After a solid drive in the fairway on the par-5 17th, Shelton pushed his approach long and right into the deep brush. When he found his ball, his shot was obstructed by a television tower, which allowed him to take relief from a temporary immoveable obstruction. After relief, Shelton hit his third shot into the rough right of the green, chipped it to five feet and sank his putt for par and a half. He then birdied the 18th for a 2-up win.
Sophomore Tom Lovelady lost his match 2 up while Trey Mullinax fell 1 up with both conceding their final holes after Alabama had secured the match.
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. The Golf Channel will also host their Pre Game Show live from Hutchinson beginning at 2 p.m. (CDT).
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 Results
Bobby Wyatt defeats Austin Smotherman, 3 and 2
Robby Shelton defeats Andrew Buchanan, 2 up
Harry Higgs defeats Tom Lovelady, 2 up
Bryson Dechambeau defeats Trey Mullinax, 1 up
Cory Whitsett defeats Ryan Burgess, 5 and 4