Oct. 16, 2012
VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. - In dramatic, come-from-behind fashion, the Alabama men's golf team swept the medalist honors at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, played at the par-70 7,204 yard Old Overton Golf Club.
"We needed this win," Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said following the round. "We have been stumbling so I'm really proud. It doesn't matter how you do it. I don't think it was pretty. Winning is always winning so that brings a lot of confidence and that is the part I'm proud of. The guys have worked hard and hung in there. I'm really proud of how they hung in all day long."
Alabama found itself on the top of the team leaderboard at the end of the day on Tuesday after trailing for the previous two rounds. Shooting a team total of 2-over 282, Alabama defeated runner-up Florida by four strokes. Auburn finished third with a 27-over 867, while UNLV took home fourth with a 28-over-par 868. Rounding out the top five, Clemson carded a 54-hole total of 30-over 870.
In the process, sophomore Justin Thomas wrapped up his fifth career-win, tying the school-record for career wins with Steve Lowery. Thomas has tied the record in 15 career tournaments played, while Lowery won five career tournaments in 44 attempts.
Thomas finished off Monday's shortened second round on Tuesday and recorded a 6-under 64, including an eagle on the par-four 15th. Thomas's back nine stretch of birdie-eagle-birdie on the 14th, 15th and 16th, propelled him to the individual crown. The native of Goshen, Ky., followed up his 64 with an even-par 70 on the final round en route to wrapping up the individual crown, by one stroke over Auburn's Michael Johnson, with a 2-under 208.
Also key in the Tide's victory at the JPNI was the resiliency of senior Scott Strohmeyer. Strohmeyer opened up the final round with a 4-over on the front nine, including two double-bogeys. However, the senior battled back with three birdies and a bogey-free back-nine to finish with a final round of 1-over 71, good enough for a tie for 45th in the tournament.
"It feels really good to help this team," junior Bobby Wyatt said. "Coach told me on the 16th hole that it was close. He told me to play hard, and I played as hard as I could and fortunately it fell my way. We haven't won the Jerry Pate since I've been here so it's very nice to get it. I know we are excited to get on the board this year."
Junior Bobby Wyatt was also clutch in the team's success during the final round. Wyatt birdied the 16th and 17th to ultimately seal the match for the Crimson Tide. Wyatt's final round of 1-under 69 was the Crimson Tide's lowest final round. The junior finished the 54-hole tournament with a 2-over 212, and tied for fourth individually. The top-five finish for Wyatt was his 10th top-five in the junior's three-year career at the Capstone.
Also counting towards the Tide's victory on Tuesday was senior Lee Knox's 2-over. Knox carded a 15-over 225, tying for 31st.
The drop score in Tuesday's final round was junior Cory Whitsett, who shot 5-over 75 today. However, the Houston, Texas native finished 10th overall at 6-over 216.
The win was Alabama's fifth victory overall at the JPNI, all coming in the last seven years. Thomas's individual win was the fifth in school history at the JPNI and last since Hunter Hamrick's win in 2009.
Alabama will be back in action on October 21, at the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational at the Isleworth Golf and Country Club in Windermere, Fla.
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