June 1, 2013
Results and Finals' Parings MILTON, Ga. -
The Alabama men's golf team defeated second-seeded host Georgia Tech 3-0-2 on Saturday in the match play semifinals of the 2013 NCAA Golf Championship on the par-70, 7,319-yard Crabapple Course at the Capital City Club.
The Crimson Tide advance to the NCAA Championships match for the second straight season and will face fifth-seeded Illinois at 7 a.m. (CDT). The final was moved up two hours due to the threat of inclement weather later in the day.
The Illini upset top-ranked California 3-2 on Saturday to advance to its first NCAA Finals. Illinois' Thomas Peiters posted a 1-up win in extra holes to give the Fighting Illini the victory. California was the No. 1 seed and had won 11-of-13 events entering the NCAA Championships.
"I'm pretty overwhelmed," Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said following the match. "It has been 365 days of answering questions and thinking about last year (loss to Texas in the finals) and to do it again, it's really hard to do. I'm really proud of our guys. Georgia Tech is a great team and they fought their tails off. It was a match that was never secure, you could feel that the last hole was going to be tough to get. I'm very thankful and excited for the opportunity tomorrow."
Junior Trey Mullinax rallied to put the Crimson Tide's first point on the board Saturday with a 4 and 3 win over Georgia Tech's Shun Yat Hak. Mullinax was 2 down coming to the eighth tee box and preceded to win six of the next seven holes to close Yat Hak out with par on the 15th.
Junior Cory Whitsett followed by closing out his match with Tech's Ollie Schniederjans out on the 16th hole, 3 and 2. It was the second win in as many days for Whitsett, who has an astounding 11 birdies and no bogeys in 30 holes of match play over the first two rounds.
Justin Thomas clinched the match with a par on the 17th for a 3 and 1 win over the Yellow Jackets' Seth Reeves. He is also 2-0 in match play this week and will face Illinois' Pieters in the third match of the finals on Sunday.
Junior Bobby Wyatt was all square with Anders Albertson in the first match of the day in extra holes when Thomas finished off the win. Senior Scott Strohmeyer was all square with Bo Andrews on the green at 18.
Sunday's NCAA Championship match begins with Wyatt facing Illinois Thomas Detry. Mullinax will follow off No. 1 at 7:10 a.m. and face Charlie Danielson. After Thomas and Pieters tee off at 7:20 a.m., Strohmeyer will face Brian Campbell at 7: 30 a.m. with Whitsett opposing Alex Burge in the final match at 7:40 a.m.
"Tomorrow we start at zero," Seawell said. "That's kind of our motto is every day, you start over. We will play a great Illinois team and I found that out when we played with them in stroke play, that Mike Small (Illinois' coach) is one of, if not, the best golf coach in the country."
The Crimson Tide's talent and experience were not lost on Georgia Tech coach Bruce Heppler who put his team's loss in perspective.
"They're (Alabama) awesome," Heppler said. "Those three guys up at the front (Whitsett, Thomas, Wyatt) may be three of the best eight or nine players in the country. They all may be on the Walker Cup team. Those are three big-time guys, Trey (Mullinax) played very well today, and Scott (Strohmeyer) has been around a long time. That's a really good team."
NCAA.com will webcast the final match beginning at 10:15 a.m. (CDT).
"Tomorrow is a new day," Mullinax said. "So it doesn't matter what we did today or yesterday, we have to play tomorrow. That's all we are worried about. We're going to go out and have a good mindset. It's a good problem to have to go back two years in a row. Unfortunately last year we came up short last year but we have a job tomorrow to do."
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