Men’s golf places fourth at the Hayt


Courtesy of UA Athletics

Alabama Golfer Canon Claycomb swings at the The Jerry Pate SEC Match Play at Old Overton in Birmingham, AL on Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022.

Dean Harrell, Contributing Writer

On Monday, Feb. 6, the No. 17-ranked Alabama men’s golf team opened its spring season as the John Hayt Intercollegiate in Ponte Vedra, Florida, came to a close. With four golfers finishing in the top-30 individuals, the Crimson Tide placed fourth in the two-day tournament with a 5-under par 870.  

Alabama competed against multiple top-50 teams , including Arkansas, the University of North Florida, and the notable top-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores, who went on to win the tournament. This was the Crimson Tide’s second-highest finish of the season this far.  

Senior Canon Claycomb was tied for 16th after the first round and led the team, shooting 1-under par. Claycomb got off to a rough start in the first round as he picked up a double-bogey on the second hole, followed by a bogey on the third. However, he was able to regain himself and tally five birdies throughout the rest of the round and finished even.  

Senior Thomas Ponder had a similar story as he began with a triple bogey on the first hole, but bounced back with a birdie on the second hole. In the later part of the round, Ponder got into some trouble as he carded four bogeys in holes 11, 12, 14 and 15. But he once again regained control and finished the last three consecutive holes with birdies, finishing 2-over par.  

As Ponder and Claycomb remained steady in the first two rounds, sophomore Jones Free struggled in his first couple of rounds after a 3-over finish in round one and a 5-over finish in the second. This is Free’s second event of the season in which he would finish tied for 50th. 

Claycomb started out hot in the second round as he was able to rack up three birdies in the first nine holes. He struggled towards the end of the round as he picked up two bogeys, but still managed to finish 1-under in the round.  

The third and final round of the tournament on Monday was perhaps the most impactful for the Crimson Tide, as four of five golfers finished at par or better, causing Alabama to shoot up from 9th place into 4th in the overall leaderboard, the largest jump in the third round by any team. The hot third round was the second-best result of any team in the round. 

“I was proud of how they responded today after a pretty disappointing start to the tournament,” Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. “We were able to respond with the second-best round of the day, so that is something to build on.” 

The third round surge was led by freshman Jonathan Griz, who tallied five birdies in his last seven holes, including a three consecutive birdie stretch to finish off the round. Griz finished tied for 28th overall, after a 3-under final round. 

Following Griz was Ponder, who carded an eagle on the seventh hole and tacked on three birdies to finish 2-under par and be tied for 18th overall. 

Claycomb finished even on the last round and finished the tournament tied for 14th place, resulting in his third top-20 finish of the season. Freshman Nick Dunlap also finished even on the third round and finished tied for 28th overall.  

Seawell said he looks forward to the rest of the early spring season after a rather positive finish in the first tournament of the new year.  

“We have a long way to go and a lot of season left to play,” Seawell said. “We want to play to a standard that we are capable of playing and we are going to continue to put in the work for us to meet that standard.” 

The Crimson Tide will now look ahead to its next showing on Feb. 19-21 in the Watersound Invitational, hosted by Florida State University in Panama City, Florida.  

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