Aug. 29, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
Coming off the runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships in June, the Alabama men's golf team finds itself ranked No. 1 entering the 2012-13 season in the Golf World/Nike Division I Preseason Coaches' Poll.
The Crimson Tide received 558 points and 13 out of the possible 23 first-place votes.
Behind Alabama are the defending NCAA champions, the Texas Longhorns, who received eight first-place votes. Rounding out the top five are three Pac-12 schools; No. 3 California, No. 4 UCLA and No. 5 Washington.
"It is exciting to be the preseason No. 1, but there is a long year ahead of us and we know how difficult it will be," Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. "Coming so close to a championship a year ago has only strengthened this team's bond and work ethic. We are looking forward to each shot this season and the opportunity to perform to our standards."
Overall, the Southeastern Conference has six teams ranked in the preseason poll. Following Alabama is No. 6 Auburn, while No. 8 Arkansas and No. 10 Texas A&M also rank in the top 10. Florida comes in at No. 12 and Georgia sneaks in the top 20 at number 19. Also receiving votes from the SEC were South Carolina, LSU and Tennessee.
The Crimson Tide returns four starters from last year's runner-up finish, but lose last year's team captain Hunter Hamrick.
Returning for the Tide this year is the top-ranked individual in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index and the reigning National Player of the Year, sophomore Justin Thomas. Last year, Thomas recorded four victories and a 70.39 scoring average. Thomas was the recipient of the Jack Nicklaus Award, the 2012 Haskins Award, a consensus first-team All-American and a semifinalist this summer at the U.S. Amateurs.
The junior duo of Cory Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt also return for their third season with the Tide. Whitsett recorded two victories last year and was both an All-SEC selection and a second-team All-America pick by both Golfweek and PING. Wyatt also was an All-SEC pick and also received second-team All-America honors by Golfweek and a third-team pick by PING.
Alabama opens its season at the Carpet Capital Collegiate in Rocky Face, Ga., September 7-9.
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