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The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Men’s golf finishes fifth at abbreviated opening tournament

Courtesy of UA Athletics
Alabama men’s golf player Nick Dunlap competing at the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invitational on Sep. 17 in Olympia Fields, IL

After Sunday storms canceled the final round, No. 13 Alabama men’s golf finished fifth in its opening tournament of the 2023-24 season. At the Fighting Illini Invitational held at Olympia Fields Country Club in Chicago, the Crimson Tide ended with two individuals finishing inside the top 20 on the way to shooting a 1-over 560 team total in two rounds.  

 The Crimson Tide held fifth place after both days of the competition. Alabama did not have a problem scoring as the Crimson Tide led the field with 36 birdies, four more than the next closest team, Georgia Tech. Despite this scoring outburst, head coach Jay Seawell said he still believes there is room for improvement. 

“I’m proud of the 36 birdies. That tells you who we can be,” Seawell said. “We still need to execute better; we need to cut the double bogeys out.”  

Sophomore Nick Dunlap led the charge for the Crimson Tide. Dunlap finished tied for eighth in the individual standings, shooting a 2-under 138 through 36 holes, which included eight birdies. Dunlap, the No. 33 player in the country, has astronomical expectations this season after winning the U.S. Amateur Championship and competing in the Walker Cup this past summer. Seawell said he believes embracing these expectations is the best way to manage them. 

“[Dunlap] has gone from a hunter to being hunted,” said Seawell. “He had a long summer physically and mentality. … I was really proud. He was game-ready.” 

Just behind Dunlap was senior Canon Claycomb, who shot a 1-under 137, tying for 13th place. Claycomb is another player with high expectations, sitting 14th on the PGA Tour University rankings. 

Senior Thomas Ponder finished tied for 21st after shooting 1-over 141 in the tournament.  

Fellow senior JP Cave shot a 4-over 144, securing a share of 37th place. 

Alabama’s fifth player was junior Jones Free, finishing tied for 58th place with a 6-over 146. 

“This week showed us we are who we think we are. We think we are one of the better teams in college golf,” Seawell said. “We’ve got a long way to go. … We’ve got to build from this first tournament.” 

Alabama now shifts its focus to the SEC East vs. West match play hosted by Jerry Pate at the Old Overton Club in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. This tournament begins Monday and runs through Wednesday, Sept. 27. 

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