Alabama men’s golf finishes last at SEC Golf Championship

Nick Robbins, Contributing Writer

It was a disappointing week for Alabama men’s golf at the Sea Island Golf Club at St. Simons Island, Georgia.

The Crimson Tide finished dead last, in 14th, and failed to advance to match play in a tournament that Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said is the most important on the schedule. The top eight squads after the first two days make it to weekend match play.

“There is a lot of work that needs to be done to build Alabama golf back to where it once was and unfortunately this was not it,” Seawell said. “As a coach, I need to be better. As a team, we will be better moving forward. We have to get the culture back to where it belongs, and that responsibility is on all of us.”

The team scored a total of 871 (290-292-289), led by fifth year senior Charlie Nikitas. Nikitas scored a 215 (75-71-69) over the three days. His score placed him 42nd overall in the field, making him the highest ranked member of the Crimson Tide.

Junior Thomas Ponder had a weekend score of 215 (71-73-71). Sophomore JP Cave and junior Canon Claycomb tied for 61st overall in the tournament.

Alabama struggled to qualify for match play on Saturday. Vanderbilt (824), Texas A&M (827), Florida (828), LSU (831), Missouri (839), Georgia (840), Tennessee (843) and Mississippi State (844) all advanced to match play.

Vanderbilt won the match, securing its second straight SEC title.

“We can always learn lessons,” Seawell said. “There’s a scoreboard out there for a reason. I think that’s the great thing about sports. It helps build character and helps you overcome adversity. There’s a ton of things that we will learn from this experience, both positively and negatively.”

The result signals a continued fall from grace for Alabama golf after winning three straight SEC titles from 2011 to 2014. That side was led by PGA tour stalwart Justin Thomas.

Alabama wraps up its season with three top-5 finishes. The Crimson Tide’s best showing was a second place finish at the Watersound Invitational in February. Alabama looks to get back to its winning ways next year led by one of the nation’s top signing classes.

“The future is bright,” Seawell said. “We will be back in the spotlight where this program belongs. And when those days come, it will feel just that much better.”

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