STATESBORO, GA. Sunday could be a record day if the No. 1 ranked University of Alabama golf team has its way. The Crimson Tide has a two-shot lead and is in first place going into Sunday’s final round of the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational, a spot it hopes to keep as it would set the school record for most single season tournament championships. Alabama has already won four tournament titles this season, including back-to-back championships in its first two spring events.
On Saturday Alabama shot 8-under par, 280, to slide into the lead after 36 holes. It shot 285 on Friday and is 11-under par going into the final round Sunday at the par 72 Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro, Ga., posting scores of 285-280/565. No. 15 ranked South Carolina is in second two shots back at 9-under par (567). No. 10 Florida is third at 7-under, 569. No. 13 Tennessee is 5-under, 571. No. 25 UAB is 1-under, 575. At sixth on the team leader board is LSU (578), followed by Kentucky, 583, Augusta State, 586, No. 8 Auburn, 587, No. 19 North Carolina, (588), tournament host Georgia Southern, 589, in a three-way tie for 12th Notre Dame, No. 16 Michigan State and Minnesota, 591, at 15th North Carolina State, 592, North Florida, 594, New Mexico, 598, and Boston College at 18th, 623.
Alabama’s Matthew Swan, who won his first collegiate tournament championship in the Puerto Rico Classic on March 2, is among a six-way tie for first, all at 5-under par. The Montgomery native shot 71-68/139, shooting 4-under on Saturday in the second round. He shares the lead with a pair of UAB golfers, Brad Smith and Zach Sucher, a pair of Florida golfers Billy Horschel and Manuel Villegas, as well as South Carolina’s George Bryan IV.
A shot back and at 4-under par are two Alabama golfers, Michael Thompson (69-71/140) and Stewart Whitt (69-71/140). They’re among a four-way tie at 7th. Tied at 27th and competing as an individual is Gator Todd who is 1-over (73-72/145. Competing for the Tide and tied at 49th is Matt Hughes (79-70/149) who shot 2-under on Saturday. And tied at 55th at 6-over is Mark Harrell (76-74/150).
Alabama, ranked No. 1 in the Golf World Nike Coaches’ Poll and No. 2 in the Golfweek Sagarin Rankings, is playing in its third tournament of the spring. It opened the spring by winning the John Hayt Intercollegiate at Sawgrass Country Club on February 19 and followed that with the championship at the Puerto Rico Classic on March 2. In September Alabama won the Carpet Capital Collegiate and also the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate. Thirteen of the 18 teams in the Carpet Capital were ranked among the Top 25. Six of the 12 at the Pate were in the Top 25 and eight of the 15 teams at the John Hayt were ranked in the Top 25. Alabama has produced three different individual tournament champions this season, Joseph Sykora at the season opening Topy Cup in Japan, Mark Harrell at the Jerry Pate and Matthew Swan at the Puerto Rico Classic.