Crimson Tide Makes 14th NCAA Championship Appearance

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Alabama enters the 2012 NCAA Championships as the nation's No. 2 seed.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Alabama enters the 2012 NCAA Championships as the nation's No. 2 seed.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

May 28, 2012

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NCAA Championships
May 29-June 3, 2012
Riviera Country Club
Par 71, 7,292 yards
Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Live Scoring: www.golfstat.com

Crimson Tide Makes 14th NCAA Championship Appearance
The Alabama men's golf team is the No. 2 seed at the 2012 NCAA Championships. The Crimson Tide is making its sixth trip to NCAAs in the last eight years under the guidance of head coach Jay Seawell and its 14th overall. The 2012 NCAA Championship tees off on May 29 and runs through June 3 at the Riviera Country Club, a par-71, 7,292-yard layout in Pacific Palisades, Calif. There will be three rounds of stroke play for the 30-team field with a cut to eight teams after 54 holes. Those eight teams will begin three rounds of match play for the national title (1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5).
The Tide is making its second straight NCAA Championships after finishing 14th in 2011 at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla. In 2012, UA features National Player of the Year candidate Justin Thomas, a freshman, along with sophomore first-team All-SEC selections Cory Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt as well as second-team All-SEC choice Hunter Hamrick. Junior Scott Strohmeyer, who is averaging 71.83 strokes per round over the last four events rounds out the Tide lineup.
UA will play its practice round at Riviera on Monday, May 28, and begins its first round at 12:20 p.m. (2:20 CDT) on Tuesday, May 29. Alabama will then tee off at 7 a.m. (9 a.m. CDT) on Wednesday, May 30. Live stats can be found at www.golfstat.com.

Rankings Rundown
Alabama boasts four golfers in the top 55 of the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index and three among the top 18. Freshman Justin Thomas leads the way at No. 2 while sophomores Bobby Wyatt and Cory Whitsett are ranked 17th and 18th, respectively. Hunter Hamrick is 55th and boasts a 72.39 scoring average and five top-10 finishes this year.

Three Tide Golfers Earn SEC Postseason Awards
Alabama freshman Justin Thomas was named the Southeastern Conference Men's Golfer of the Year and Freshman of the Year. Thomas took medalist honors at the SEC Championships and led both the team and the conference with a 70.39 scoring average. Head coach Jay Seawell was tabbed as the SEC Coach of the Year after guiding the Tide to a wire-to-wire win at the SEC Championship and five team victories, including the NCAA Athens Regional. Thomas was also one of four Tide golfers to earn All-SEC honors, joining Cory Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt on the first team while Hunter Hamrick was named to the second team.

Alabama in the NCAAs
Alabama's berth in the NCAA Championship marks the 14th finals appearance and the sixth in the last eight years under the leadership of head coach Jay Seawell. UA's top finish under Seawell was a sixth-place showing in 2007. Prior to the NCAA Tournament switching to regional format in 1991, the Crimson Tide made five NCAA Finals appearances in 1973-75, 1981 and 1983 under head coach Rehling. Alabama has 20 total appearances (regional and final) in the NCAA men's golf tournament. The 1975 team, that featured Crimson Tide legend Jerry Pate, earned UA's best finish in the NCAA Finals with a tie for third place. Following Rehling's last trip in 1983, Alabama didn't make its return to the NCAA Finals until 1992 when Spybey's squad finished 11th. Following trips to the NCAA Finals in 1993 and again in 1996, UA would not return for another eight years until Seawell's 2005 team advanced out of the East Regional. The 2007 season marked the beginning of five trips to the NCAA Championships in six years.

Crimson Tide under Seawell
Head Coach Jay Seawell has transformed Alabama in to perennial contender in his 10 years at the Capstone. Since taking the Crimson Tide to an NCAA Regional during his first year, 2003, this year marks ninth regional appearances in the last 10 years, including eight straight. UA is making its sixth NCAA Championships appearance in the last eight years (2005, 07-09, 11-12). Alabama finished sixth in 2007, the best for a Seawell-coached team. His teams have won 25 tournament titles over the last 10 years, including the 2008 and 2012 SEC Championships and the 2009 and 2012 NCAA Regional titles. UA won a school-record six times in 2007-08, won five more tournaments in 2010-11 and has five tournament victories in 2011-12, including four of the last five events.

Senior Leadership
Before the 2011-12 campaign got underway last September, the Alabama coaching staff and players selected senior Hunter Hamrick as the team captain at the first team meeting. The captain honors is one that is rarely given out by the Tide. Hamrick is making his third start at the NCAA Championships while playing in 138 career rounds for the Tide. He has four career medalist honors and ranks sixth in career scoring average (72.65) while ranking third in third in career tournaments (47).

Freshman Success
True freshman Justin Thomas has continued an impressive streak of freshman success for the Crimson Tide. Coming on the heels of Bud Cauley, Hunter Hamrick, Cory Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt, Thomas won the SEC Freshman of the Year and SEC Player of the Year honors and is in contention for National Player of the Year honors. He is second in the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index while boasting 23 rounds of par or better this season with a school record four medalist honors.