No. 6 Alabama Men’s Golf Turns Focus to 2018 SEC Championship
The sixth-ranked Alabama men's golf team will travel to St. Simons Island, Ga., to participate in the 2018 Southeastern Conference Men’s Golf Championship. The event will begin on Wednesday afternoon on the par-70, 7,005-yard Sea Island Golf Club Seaside Course.
This year’s format will begin with 18 holes on each of the first three days (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) in which all 14 SEC schools will compete. At the conclusion of stroke play, the top eight teams will advance to the match play portion. The quarterfinals will tee off Saturday morning and the semifinals will begin that same afternoon. The Championship match will take place on Sunday morning and will be televised live on SEC Network.
Alabama’s lineup for the weekend remains the same as the previous two tournaments and is led by senior Lee Hodges and junior Davis Riley, both of whom are ranked among the top 16 golfers in the nation according to the latest Golfweek/Sagarin individual rankings.
Hodges, who has been playing his best golf of the year as of late, enters the event ranked No. 15 nationally. Hodges has won medalist honors twice this spring (Puerto Rico Classic and Linger Longer Invitational) and has finished no lower than 11th in four of the Tide’s five spring tournaments. Entering this weekend’s event, the Ardmore, Tenn., native has carded scores of par or better in 12 of his last 15 rounds and currently tops the team with a 70.78 per round stroke average and a -0.56 average vs. par.
Meanwhile, Riley, who is ranked 16th nationally, has been equally as impressive, entering the SEC Championship in second on the team in both stroke average (70.81) and average vs. par (-0.52). Through the Tide’s nine tournaments this season, the Hattiesburg, Miss., native owns six top-10 finishes and four top-five results.
Senior Jonathan Hardee ranks third on the team with a 72.81 per round average, while his 1.48 average vs. par also is third-best on the team. Freshmen Davis Shore (73.04) and Wilson Furr (74.56) round out the Tide’s starting five. Both Shore and Furr are coming off a top-10 finish at last week’s Mason Rudolph Championship, finishing in second and seventh, respectively.
The 2018 championship could be one of the most competitive the league has seen, as five teams are ranked among the top-10 in the nation, eight schools rank among the top 20 and all 14 programs are among the top-60 in Golfstat.com’s most updated rankings, which was released on April 18. In addition to the sixth-ranked Tide, other top-20 teams include: No. 2 Texas A&M, No. 4 Vanderbilt, No. 7 Florida, No. 9 Auburn, No. 11 LSU, No. 16 Arkansas and No. 19 Kentucky. Also competing this week is No. 34, Ole Miss, No. 38 South Carolina, No. 39 Missouri, No. 50 Tennessee, No. 54 Georgia and No. 56 Mississippi State.
The Tide has won five SEC Championships in program history, including three consecutive titles from 2012-14. Alabama also claimed the hardware in 1979 and 2008, while finishing runners-up on six different occasions.
Live scoring for this year’s tournament can be found at www.Golfstat.com.