May 28, 2013
MILTON, Ga. - The second-ranked Alabama men's golf team is in third place after the first round of the 2013 NCAA Golf Championship on the par-70, 7,319-yard Crabapple Course at the Capital City Club Tuesday.
The Crimson Tide shot 5-under 275 and is five shots off the lead of Arizona State. The Sun Devils posted 10-under 270 in the morning flight with the help of John Rahm's NCAA-record 61 (-9). Host Georgia Tech is second at 6-under 274 while Illinois is fourth (-4, 276) and No. 1-ranked California is fifth at 3-under 277. Oklahoma is sixth at 278 while Texas and Oklahoma State are tied for eighth at 279.
"We would have loved to win the day," Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said following the round. "That is our goal every day. We had it at 11-under par at one time. Absolutely we are happy were we are with three guys under par and a 71 and a 72. I thought it was a very solid start."
Alabama sophomore and reigning National Player of the Year Justin Thomas led the Tide charge with a 3-under-par round of 67. He made four birdies and just one bogey and stands in a tie for fourth place after the opening round.
"(The course) was playing really hard this afternoon," Alabama sophomore Justin Thomas said following the round. "It is already a hard course, but the greens got really firm and pretty crispy, so you really had to know where your ball is landing and where you want to putt from."
Thomas, from Goshen, Ky., went out in 2-under 33 with birdies on the 11th and 13th holes and then birdied the first and second after making the turn to get to 4-under par. A three-putt bogey on the 461-yard par-eighth was the only blemish on his card.
"This was, if not the best, in my top three or four ball-striking rounds. I left myself in good position on the greens. I hit 16 greens and my only bogey was a three putt. This is a national championship course and you have to give it a lot of respect. I hit it well; if I could have made a couple of putts, it really could have been low. I played well, the team played well and we are in good position."
The Crimson Tide got a 2-under-par 68 from junior Bobby Wyatt, who also carded four birdies on this round. The Mobile, Ala., native is tied for eighth after the first day of play. Fellow junior Cory Whitsett shot 1-under 69 and is tied for 20th. He got to 3-under par through 15 holes only to finish with bogeys on two of his final three holes.
Scott Strohmeyer was the Tide's final counting score on Tuesday at 1-over-par 71. Only a triple bogey on the eighth hole (his 17th) kept him from posting an under-par round. Trey Mullinax's 72 was dropped from Alabama's team total in round one.
Alabama will play with California and UCLA again in the second round at the Crabapple Course on Wednesday. The Crimson Tide will tee off at 6 a.m. (CDT) on the first hole. The field will cut to the top eight teams after three rounds on Thursday and then play three rounds of match play to crown a national champion.
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