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’s young talent flourishes

The seventh-ranked Alabama men’s golf team finished in fourth place Saturday in the prestigious Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational in Olympia Fields, Ill., by shooting 17-over par, finishing with a team score of 857.

Junior Bud Cauley, the seventh-ranked player in the nation, led the Crimson Tide. He shot a 1-under par with a score of 209 in the tournament to finish tied for third, making it his 10th career top-five finish. He wasn’t the only player to compete well, however. He was joined by sophomore Scott Strohmeyer and junior Hunter Hamrick, who finished tied for 51st.

Perhaps the biggest story was the Tide’s two freshmen, Bobby Wyatt and Cory Whitsett, who finished T-16th and T-20th, respectively. They used this tournament to showcase their talent, finishing second and third on the team to Cauley.

“They’re getting better every week,” said head coach Jay Seawell. “We know they’re very talented; we knew they wouldn’t be afraid.”

In his first collegiate tournament on Sept. 12, Wyatt finished ahead of Cauley and led the Tide to a victory at the Carpet Capital Collegiate. Whitsett also contributed to the victory, finishing not far behind Wyatt and Cauley. Cauley said he’s noticed the composure of his younger teammates.

“I don’t think [they have pressure],” Cauley said. “They know they have a good group around them that can help if they have an off day.”

So far this season, Wyatt and Whitsett have given no reason for anyone to think they won’t help their team. Seawell said if they continue their growth, they can be some of the best players in the nation by the end of the year. “I think they’ll have great impact,” Seawell said. “That’s why we recruited them. They’re All-Americans. I think they’re All-Americans.”

Cauley said he agrees.

“Anybody on our team can be an All-American,” Cauley said. “They’ve shown that they’re winners.”

As far as there being any setbacks for relying on such inexperienced players, Seawell said he doesn’t see any issues.

“[Wyatt and Whitsett] bring excitement and energy that’s new and fresh, and it kind of rubs off on people,” Seawell said. “I don’t see any disadvantages with these guys.”

Of course, it also helps when you have veterans like Cauley to learn from.

“His leadership is going to be very important,” Seawell said. “They look up to him, to his work ethic. They have somebody to lean on.”

“I’m sure they’re starting to learn and get some experience under their belt. I just do what I can,” Cauley said.

Although the Tide’s young talent has been impressive, Cauley said Alabama still has room for improvement after its fourth-place finish this past weekend.

“We’re a little disappointed to finish fourth, but golf’s a fickle game, and we just have to work hard,” Cauley said. “[Finishing fourth] might have been a blessing, and [might] light a fire under us.”

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