April 24, 2014
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - The No. 1 Alabama men's golf team returns to the Sea Island Golf Club this weekend to defend its Southeastern Conference championship on the par-70, 6,898-yard Seaside Course.
The Crimson Tide enters the conference tournament in pursuit of their third consecutive SEC title and fifth in program history. No team has won three straight SEC Championships since Florida accomplished the feat four times from 1991-94.
A year ago, the Crimson Tide rallied in come-from-behind fashion, knocking off South Carolina by two strokes in the final round. Anchored by third-place finisher Cory Whitsett's 1-under-par 209, the Tide finished with a three-day total of 8-over-par 848.
The 54-hole tournament will be played Friday through Sunday and will feature some of the nation's most talented teams in one of collegiate golf's toughest leagues. Of the 14 teams in the conference, 12 are ranked in the Golfstat Top 50 and seven are ranked in the top 25.
The top-ranked Crimson Tide will defend its league crown against No. 6 Georgia, No. 16 Vanderbilt, No. 17 Texas A&M, No. 21 Arkansas, No. 22 LSU, No. 24 South Carolina, No. 26 Auburn, No.34 Kentucky, No. 43 Tennessee, No. 50 Mississippi State, Missouri and Florida.
After winning the Mason Rudolph Championship two weeks ago, head coach Jay Seawell will stick with the same lineup this weekend. Making their final appearances at Sea Island, the senior trio of Whitsett, Bobby Wyatt and Trey Mullinax will aim to capture the third league championship of their illustrious careers. Wyatt was recently named a semifinalist for the Ben Hogan Award while Mullinax was named to the 2014 Palmer Cup team.
Also slated to tee it up this weekend is sophomore Tom Lovelady and standout freshman Robby Shelton, who currently ranks as the nation's fourth best collegiate golfer according to Golfstat.com. Shelton leads the team with a scoring average of 70.48 and has recorded six top-5 finishes this year including three medalist honors. The Wilmer, Ala., native was recently selected as a semifinalist for the Ben Hogan Award and was also named to represent the United States at the 2014 Palmer Cup.
Along with Shelton, Lovelady will make his debut appearance at the SEC Championships after posting his second top-10 finish of the year at the Mason Rudolph Championship (8th).
Alabama also has produced three individual SEC champions in its history. Nicklaus Award winner Justin Thomas was the most recent Crimson Tide player to win the SEC title. Michael Thompson snapped a streak spanning six decades with his win in 2008. Bobby Hill was the first Alabama player to be crowned league champion, winning the SEC title in 1952.
Alabama will be paired with Georgia and Vanderbilt in Friday's first round and will tee off at 6:30 a.m. (CDT)
Follow live stats at golfstat.com and get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaMGolf, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.
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