Friday, January 30, 2004
TUSCALOOSA – It’s January, so that can mean only one thing on the golf calendar: the spring season has arrived. The University of Alabama men’s golf team heralds in its spring season Saturday in Gainesville, Florida where it will participate in the January 31 through February 1 SunTrust Gator Invitational.
The two day event, an annual opener on the Crimson Tide’s golf spring schedule, is hosted by the No. 1 ranked University of Florida on its par 70 University Golf Course. It includes two rounds on Saturday and the final round of 18 holes played on Sunday.
The field includes Alabama, Florida, Tennessee which is coached by former Tide golfer Jim Kelson, Purdue, LSU, Georgia Southern, the College of Charleston, Baylor, Central Florida, Kentucky, North Florida, Georgia State which is coached by former Tide golfer Matt Clark, Florida State, Ohio State and UAB.
“We’ve been very fortunate with the weather leading to this event,” said Alabama head coach Jay Seawell. “The temperature has been in the 50’s and 60’s mostly in the last couple of weeks, so we’ve been able to get some practice time. We’re only allowed a couple of weeks of practice before the opener, but we’ve been able to use it, which, this time of year because of the winter weather, isn’t always the case. It’s still not enough time, this time of year, where you can be expected to be in midseason form, but the weather has been very cooperative.
“I think we’re anxious. We’re ready to start. That’s the great part about golf. The spring is really the new year even though we come back and play in the fall and those events count. Golf is a sport that starts in January and ends in November, so the spring is kind of the new beginning, the new season even though we’ve already played in the fall. I think the anticipation of the new players we have and feeling kind of refreshed after the off season make this year a little more exciting as we start back.”
Alabama added two golfers to its roster when the spring semester began a couple of weeks ago. One of them is Florida transfer Dwight Rogers who made it through the team qualifier and made the roster of Alabama’s five participants in this event. Competing for the Tide are Lars Brovold (70.93 stroke average), Clint Provost (74.50), Austin Hynson (77.00), Max Alverio (79.17) and Rogers.
“We’re going to Florida’s home golf course, their back yard, and they are the No. 1 ranked team in the nation,” said Seawell. “If you look at that it’s a little daunting. It is a very local knowledge golf course which is good because of the team we’re taking, everyone has played it with the exception of Max who is a freshman. So that’s going to be helpful. I think our finishes there have been mixed at best in the past. We’ve practiced extensively here at Ol’ Colony because I think that course and the course at the Gator are very similar.”
Brovold is on his way to having a great senior year already. In addition to sporting a 70.93 stroke average after five fall tournaments, his four finishes include winning the University of North Carolina’s Franklin Street Partners Invitational and shooting back-to-back rounds of 65 en route to a second place individual finish among a field full of All-Americans and all-conference golfers at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate.
Following its play at the Gator, Alabama heads to New Orleans for the February 9-10 Tulane Invitational. The spring tournament schedule for the Crimson Tide includes hosting a home event, the Conrad Rehling Alabama Spring Invitational. It will be held at Ol’ Colony March 12-14.