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 ready for home win

After a fourth place finish in the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational, the No. 4 Alabama men’s golf team is looking forward to the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate in Birmingham.

The Tide will host this prestigious tournament at the Old Overton Club, where it has been held since 1997. Its inaugural tournament was held in Pate’s hometown of Pensacola, Fla., in 1986. It was moved to Birmingham and held at Shoals Creek Golf Course from 1992 to 1997.

Jerry Pate is a University of Alabama golf alumnus who, after leaving the Capstone, went on to win the 1975 U.S. Open and was a part of the victorious 1981 Ryder Cup team. The golf practice facility is also named in his honor, complete with three practice greens and a driving range exclusive to Alabama golfers, as well as coaches’ offices and a ping pong table.

Alabama has won this tournament four years in a row and has attracted attention from across the nation.

Former winners of the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate include Tiger Woods, Rory Sabbatini, Hunter Mahan, David Toms and D.J. Trahan, who together have a combined 93 Professional Golf Association wins and 15 major championships, including five PGA Championships.

“It’s a huge deal to win,” head coach Jay Seawell said. “Winning this tournament puts you in elite company with some great golfers, some major championship winners.”

Mahan and Trahan tied for the win in the 2001 Pate Intercollegiate, representing Oklahoma State and Clemson, respectively. Oklahoma State won the team title that year. The only other tie in tournament history was in 2007 and featured an Alabama player, Mark Harrell, tied with Seamus Power of East Tennessee State. The Crimson Tide won the team title that year.

Winning this tournament, a feat Alabama junior Hunter Hamrick accomplished last year, is a real milestone in a golfer’s career.

“It’s a great win,” Hamrick said. “It’d be nice to get back on top.”

This year’s field will include the No. 1 Florida Gators, as well as No. 15 Auburn, UNLV, SMU, Mississippi State, UAB, Georgia State, South Alabama, Memphis, Samford and Southern Miss.

“We have much better fields now than we did before with Florida and Auburn coming in this year,” Hamrick said. “It’s nice to keep winning and have our home tournament feared.”

As last year’s winner, Hamrick wants to go out and win again.

“Of course our goal is to win it,” Hamrick said. “It being at home, it gives us that extra initiative to go out there and work harder every day.”

Star freshman Bobby Wyatt said, “This tournament is huge. It’s always a big deal when you have the chance to go out on the course and defend our home territory.”

Not only would a win be big for the Tide’s confidence going further towards the NCAA Championships hosted in Stillwater, Okla., it would also set a Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate record. The Tide is currently on a four year winning streak, matching the streak set by the Clemson Tigers from 1997-2000.

“It’d be great to have that record,” Wyatt said. “But we’re not worried about that record. We’re focused on just winning.”

Seawell said, “That’s what we want to do. Win. Winning this tournament five times in a row would be pretty special. It would be special for our team, for our alumni that follow Alabama golf, for Mr. Pate and for our program.”

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