No. 7 Alabama Men’s Golf Wins Linger Longer Invitational
Three Alabama golfers finished among the top 12 to lead the seventh-ranked Crimson Tide men’s golf team to the 2016 Linger Longer Invitational team championship. Alabama finished the three-day, 54-hole tournament with a team score of 12-under par 852 (282-285-285), as the Tide claimed its fourth title in its last five tournaments dating back to the fall season.
“We got off to a great start today, but had a little hiccup in the middle of the round,” Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. “I am really proud of how we overcame that. Sometimes on the last day, when things aren’t going as you had hoped, it’s easy to have the negative momentum last too long. Our guys did a really good job of staying in the moment and finding a way to earn a victory, which I am very proud of.”
Today’s victory was the fourth time in the last six years that the Alabama men’s golf team claimed the Linger Longer tournament title, achieving the feat in 2011, 2012 and 2013. This year’s title was aided by the Tide leading the field in par 5 average (4.52 strokes per par 5), while ranking second among the 13-team field in total number of birdies (60) and eagles (4) throughout the event.
Alabama claimed the championship by four strokes over No. 3 Georgia and No. 47 Augusta State, who tied for second overall with both teams carding a 9-under par 855 for the tournament. The Bulldogs made a push to overtake the Tide, as they collected the low round of the tournament with a 12-under par 276, but it was not enough to overcome Alabama’s steady play throughout the week. Virginia, ranked No. 22 in the nation, finished in fourth with an 861, while tournament host Kennesaw State rounded out the top five teams with an 866.
Alabama had three player finish among the top 12 in the event, including a pair of top-10 finishers in junior Robby Shelton and freshman Davis Riley. Shelton closed the final round with a 3-under par 69 to finish with a three-day total of 5-under par 211 (70-72-69). It marks his fifth top-10 finish (in six tournaments) this season and the 22nd top-10 result in 30 career tournaments played.
Meanwhile, Riley also had a strong showing as the Hattiesburg, Miss., native ended play in seventh overall with a 54-hole score of 4-under par 212 (70-71-71). Riley recorded his fourth top-10 finish in his seven tournaments he has played this season, as he led the entire field in par five scoring (-9, 4.25) and tied for second in total number of birdies (15) and eagles (2) for the week.
Senior Tom Lovelady also played well, closing play the tournament in 12th overall with a 2-under par 214 (70-70-74) on the par-72, 7,073-yard Great Waters Golf Club at Reynolds Lake Oconee course. It’s his fifth top-20 finish (in eight tournaments) this season,
Junior Dru Love played his best round of the week with a 1-under par 71 on Tuesday, as he tied for 27th overall with a 3-over 219 (76-72-71), Sophomore Jonathan Hardee rounded out the Tide in 56th overall with a 227 (72-80-75).
Sophomore Tyler Hitchner, who competed as an individual, tied for 18th with a 1-over par 217 (73-71-73).
“I think our depth is why we were able to win this tournament,” Seawell said. “Our guys did a really good job of backing up each other when one of them may have been struggling. If you’re going to be a great team, you have to have depth. You can’t really be just a one or two man team and just hope everyone else hangs in there. It just creates a trust factor with one another. I thought we did a really good job of having all of our guys close enough for their scores to count each day. It keeps everybody energized.”
The Crimson Tide will return to action when it travels to Sylacauga, Ala., to compete at the FarmLinks Collegiate Match Play event on Saturday, March 26. Alabama will open the event against No. 10 Auburn in one semifinal, with the other semifinal pitting No. 6 Vanderbilt against No. 21 Georgia Tech in a match play format. The winners of each semifinal will then meet for the championship, with the losers moving on to play for the consolation. The event, which is free to the public, will be played at the FarmLinks Golf Club at Pursell Farms.