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

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Tide men’s golf team humbled at SEC Championship

Head golf coach Jay Seawell described it as the “low point of the Crimson Tide golf program.”

Alabama entered the 2010 SEC Championships at St. Simons Island, Ga., with high aspirations, looking to bring home a third SEC title to the Capstone. But after firing a 297(+17) on day one at the Sea Island Golf Club, the Tide found itself at the bottom of the leaderboard, facing a monumental climb to get back into contention.

Two days later, after turning in a 289(+9) and a final-round score of 292(+12), the Tide finished with an 878(+38) and discovered uncharted territory — last place.

“This is not what Alabama golf is about,” Seawell said. “This was a tremendously disappointing weekend for us, and it’s very important that our team learn from this and move on. This hurts, it really does. It’s certainly not fun for anyone, but right now, we have to move on as a team and get better, because this team still has a chance to compete for a national championship.”

Despite the end result, the leadership and steady place of sophomore Hunter Hamrick, who has three tournament victories on his resume this season, highlighted the weekend for Alabama. Hamrick finished the tournament with a 207(-3), landing him in a tie for fourth place.

Hamrick was tied for the lead heading into the final round after carding back-to-back rounds in the 60s, one of only two players in the field of 60 to do so. He opened with a 1-under-par 69 and followed suit with a 67(-3) in round two to find himself in a tie for first place.

Hamrick stumbled in the final round, unable to make up ground after opening the first hole with a double bogey. He fired a 1-over-par 71 to close the tournament.

“I’ve never been more proud of him,” Seawell said. “He had the weight of a guerilla on his back this weekend. We were without Bud [Cauley], so Hunter knew that we really needed him to be a leader, and he did just that. He has remarkable character and truly is a stud and one of the best golfers in the country.”

The top-five finish for Hamrick was somewhat bittersweet.

“This weekend, we were out of contention after day one,” Hamrick said. “I think the attitude of the team after that was that we were playing for pride. None of us wanted to finish last. That hurt, but we were playing without our All-American, and we just couldn’t recover after the first day.”

Inexperience on a course that features a plethora of sand traps and marsh was too much to overcome.

“You stand on some of these tee boxes, and all you see are hazards,” Hamrick said. “It’s all mental, though, because once you hit the shot and you’re in the fairway, you realize it’s not as hard as you think. As a team, we just were too inconsistent and had to play out of too many traps to stay competitive.”

Redshirt freshman Lee Knox fired a 1-under-par 69 on Sunday — his best round of the tournament — to finish in a tie for 16th place.

The Tide will now look to repair the damage and forget the past. The next stop for Alabama will be the NCAA Regionals, which will be May 20-22 at a site to be determined.

“We know we are better than the way we just played,” Hamrick said. “We will learn from this, move on and get better.”

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