No. 1 Alabama Men’s Golf Holds On to Claim Victory at Steelwood Collegiate
The No. 1-ranked Alabama men's golf captured the team title at the Steelwood Collegiate on Sunday, holding on for a one-stroke win over Kennesaw State. The Crimson Tide closed the two-day, 54-hole event with a team total of 2-over par 866 (280-293-293) in its final tournament of the fall season.
“It was great for us to play in Mobile and the southern part of the state,” Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. “We had a lot of people come out to support us, which was great to see. Steelwood was a tremendous host and we were honored to play in the tournament.
“I was proud of our guys. There was a lot of adversity with the weather and, when you’re at the top you have a lot of teams gunning after you, so there’s a lot of pressure that comes with it. I thought it affected us a little, but we’ll learn from that. That said, when it became clutch time, we played winning golf. I am really proud of how we finished. I don’t care if you win by 20 strokes or just one stroke, it always feels good to win.”
The Tide held on despite a late charge from Kennesaw State (867). Tournament host South Alabama (879) was the next closest finisher, followed by No. 8 Kentucky (881) and Rice (887) to round out the top five teams.
With its victory on Sunday, the Crimson Tide finished the fall season with a stellar record of 48-1-1. Alabama claimed a share of the Capital Collegiate to open the season and won the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate in addition to Sunday’s victory. The lone loss of the fall came to No. 2 Texas A&M, as the Tide finished runners-up at the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invitational. Furthermore, Alabama’s three wins during the fall season were the most since it claimed four titles in four tournaments in the fall of 2013.
“Our guys came into the season with a great mindset,” Seawell said. “We’ve got a deep team and they competed against each other, but remained a team. I think how we’ve played has been a measure of how hard they’ve competed and worked throughout the fall. We’re proud of it, but I think in order to be special, we have to continue to work and get better. I think we can do special things. We are looking forward to an offseason and get a little rest, but then be ready to get back and do those little things that make you special. I think we can be, but we still have a long way to go to get there.”
Alabama was led throughout the Steelwood Collegiate by senior Jonathan Hardee, who matched the best finish of his career when he tied for second overall at 4-under par 212 (69-71-72). Hardee, who led the entire field in par 5 scoring (4.25, -9) and was second in total birdies (14), was one of four players to finish in second-place, finishing two strokes back of medalist honor R.J. Keur of UAB (210).
Junior Davis Riley, who entered the event as the No. 1-ranked golfer in the nation, tied for seventh overall to earn his fourth top-10 finish of the year and 14th of his career. The Hattiesburg, Miss., native closed play at 1-over par 217 (69-75-73), while his 13 birdies throughout the event were third-most by any individual.
Senior Lee Hodges earned his 25th career top-20 finish as he tied for 12th overall with a 2-over par 218 (70-70-78). Senior Steven Setterstrom tied for 20th, giving the Tide four golfers who finished among the top-20, with a 7-over par 223 (72-77-74). Freshman Davis Shore tied for 24th with a 224 (72-78-74) on the par 72, 7,096-yard Steelwood Country Club course.
Competing as individuals, sophomore Alex Green tied Shore for 24th overall with a 224 (69-77-78), while freshman Wilson Furr, playing in his first collegiate tournament, tied for 47th with a 232 (75-79-78).
The Crimson Tide will next compete when it opens the spring season at the Puerto Rico Classic on Feb. 18-20 in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.