RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico – The University of Alabama’s fourth-ranked men’s golf team shot its lowest round in relation to par in more than three years with a 14-under 274 on Tuesday to edge No. 5 Georgia Tech by five strokes and capture the team title at the Puerto Rico Classic.
The Crimson Tide finished with a 54-hole total of 28-under-par 836 (281-281-274) on the par-72, 6,902-yard River Course at the Rio Mar Country Club. Tuesday’s 274 was the lowest team round for Alabama since its 273 in the 2009 Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate and the lowest in relation to par since shooting 15-under 273 at the 2007 Topy Cup. The 836 was the lowest 54-hole total since shooting 30-under 810 at the 2007 JPNI.
“We got off to a good start all three rounds,” Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. “I think that was a key because this is a golf course where you can really score, and if you get in a rut with a couple of pars you can start panicking a little bit. We only had three rounds over par out of 15 all week, so everyone played great. It was really a team effort.”
Georgia Tech, who entered the day tied atop the leaderboard with Alabama, shot 9-under-par 279 to finish second. Top-ranked Oklahoma State was six strokes off the lead at the start of the round but was unable to make up any ground and finished 11 strokes behind the Tide at 17-under 847. Georgia closed strong with a final-round 278 (-10) to finish fourth at 6-under 858 while Virginia Tech rounded out the top five at 1-under 863.
UA junior Bud Cauley shot a final round 70 to finish 9-under-par 207, one stroke behind medalist James White of Tech. Cauley carded birdies on the sixth, 14th and 15th holes and held a share of the lead before a bogey on the par-4 16th gave White the final edge.
As a team the Tide recorded four under-par rounds on Tuesday, led by Hunter Hamrick’s 67. The junior from Montgomery, Ala., teed off his final round on the third hole and recorded two bogeys – on the fourth and ninth hole – before catching fire.
Hamrick’s run began with a birdie on the 11th hole and continued with three consecutive birdies holes 13-15. Hamrick then made a birdie three on the par-4 17th and finished the round by holing out on the par-4, 435-yard first hole with a 9-iron from 165 yards. Hamrick shot 29 over the nine-hole stretch from No. 11 through No. 1. His final round moved him 14 positions up the leaderboard into a tie for eighth place at 4-under-par 212.
“Hunter’s back nine today is really what sealed the deal,” Seawell said. “He was just kind of stumbling along and then plays 7-under for nine holes, and that nine-hole stretch is what won the golf tournament.”
Bobby Wyatt posted the third top-five finish of his young career with a tie for fourth at 7-under 209. He shot 69 in the final round and actually had it to 5-under par before a double bogey on the 18th. Wyatt made six birdies during his final round and 13 for the tournament.
Freshman Cory Whitsett turned it around on Tuesday after a second-round 75 and moved up 24 spots on the leaderboard into a tie for 16th with a final-round 68. He carded an eagle on the par-4, 289-yard 13th hole, five birdies and three bogeys on his round. Whitsett finished the tournament at 1-under 215. Trey Mullinax III shot 1-over 73 in round three to finish tied for 11th with a career-low 3-under-par 213.
|8||North Carolina St.||288||295||288||871||+7|
|15||East Tennessee St.||294||293||306||893||+29|