Crimson Tide women dominate
Sunday was quite the day for the University of Alabama's golf teams. They took the team titles in both the women's and men's SEC Championships and further cemented their dominance of college golf.
Alabama women's golf team pulled away from the competition in the final round at Greystone Golf and Country Club to win by 14 shots.
The Crimson Tide shot 14-over 302, which was within one shot of the low round of the day in windy conditions, for a 54-hole total of 35-over-par 899. Georgia finished second at 49-over 913, with South Carolina third (918), Vanderbilt (919) fourth and Kentucky (922) fifth.
"The SEC is a very deep conference, and maybe we are a little biased, but we like to consider ourselves the best conference in the nation," Alabama head coach Mic Potter said.
"It is an honor to win against this field on this fantastic golf course –- a championship-caliber course in every way.
"We are pleased and honored. We got a little defensive today, but when you have that big of lead it is hard to know how to focus and what to think about. We won, and hopefully we learned some lessons as well."
Stephanie Meadow lapped the field for medalist honors with an even-par 216 for a nine-shot win. She is the first Alabama women's golfer to capture medalist honors at the SEC Championship.
"What can you say about Stephanie Meadow," Potter said. "She is just so consistent. If you are going to beat her, you have to be aggressive, because she just doesn't beat herself. She just keeps getting better all the time."
Meadow carded rounds of 75, 69 and 72 for the win. She was the only player in the field to break 70 in a round. The win was the sixth-career victory for the junior from Jordanstown, Northern Ireland, extending her own school record.
"It is a pretty awesome feeling (to win as a team)," Meadow said. "We put in a lot of hard work –- all of us –- and obviously it is paying off. Individually, I am just happy that I could pull it out. It was a great experience."
Hannah Collier fired the low round of the day for Alabama. The Birmingham native, former Spain Park High School golfer and member at Greystone shot a one-under-par 71 with a birdie on the closing hole. She knocked her approach on 18 to a foot and sank the putt to finish at 14-over 230 in a tie for 14th. Collier began the day in a tie for 42nd position.
Freshman Emma Talley was the Tide's third score on Sunday with a 4-over 76. She finished tied for 19th at 15-over 231. Senior Jennifer Kirby finished tied for 11th at 13-over 229. She was UA's fourth score in the final round with an 83. Daniela Lendl's 85 was dropped from the team total.
Alabama now awaits word on its NCAA Regional destination. The win also marked the Crimson Tide's school-record sixth team victory of the season, breaking the mark of five set in the 2010-11 season.
Men's team wins, too
Alabama men's golf team battled through 30 mph winds on the challenging Seaside Course at the Sea Island Golf Club on St. Simons Island, Ga. on Sunday to hold off South Carolina for the program's fourth SEC Championship and second straight.
The Crimson Tide began the day three shots back of the Gamecocks and the two teams went back and forth throughout the final round. The Tide sealed the win with a 10-over-par round of 290 to finish at 8-over 848 for the tournament. South Carolina shot 295 on Sunday and 850 for the 54-hole event. Auburn was third at 20-over 860, with Texas A&M (864) fourth and Mississippi State (866) in fifth place.
"I am really proud of the guys," Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said.
"They faced 30 mph winds all day –- I've never seen anything like it, especially in a championship. They battled hard, never gave in and I am proud of all five of them. They never got discouraged, even when it looked a little bleak. In the end, we did just enough to win and that is an awesome feeling."
Alabama's break came when South Carolina's Caleb Sturgeon, who was leading the tournament at the time, took a triple bogey on the par-4 16th hole to break a tie atop the leaderboard. In the same group, UA's Cory Whitsett made birdie for a four-shot swing that gave the Tide a lead they would not relinquish.
Whitsett closed with a bogey on the 18th but still secured the Tide's fourth SEC title and second straight. He finished tied for third individually at 1-under 209. Arkansas' Sebastian Cappelen won medalist honors at 8-under 202.
Trey Mullinax joined Whitsett with a 73 on Sunday to post a top-10 finish in ninth place at 3-over 213. Bobby Wyatt carded a 4-over 74 and tied for 10th at 4-over 214.
Justin Thomas fired Alabama's lowest round of the day with an even-par 70 to tie for 12th place at 5-over 215. Scott Strohmeyer's 75 on Sunday was dropped from the UA team score. He carded a 10-over 220 total to tie for 27th.
Alabama will now await word on which of six regional sites they will be headed to as they attempt to qualify for the NCAA Championships at the Capital City Club in Atlanta in May.
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