Alabama victorious in Puerto Rico
Thomas wins individual title, leads No. 9 Crimson Tide to title
RIO MAR, Puerto Rico -- Ninth-ranked Alabama finished off both a team and individual victory on Tuesday afternoon at the Puerto Rico Classic on the 6,902-yard, par-72 River Course at the Rio Mar Country Club.
The Crimson Tide fired its three lowest rounds of the season (276, 279 and 279) for an 18-shot win at 30-under-par 834. Freshman Justin Thomas also secured his second collegiate victory with a 10-under-par total of 206.
The Tide's 54-hole total of 834 is the fifth-lowest in school history while 30-under par ranks third in relation to par in school annals. Clemson finished second at 12-under-par 852 with Purdue in third at 856, Georgia Tech in fourth at 861 and North Carolina State rounding out the top five at 1-under-par 863.
"I am very proud how this team played," Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said following Tuesday's round. "We had all five guys finish in the top 20, four in the top 10 and Justin [Thomas] was the medalist -- that is the formula for winning golf. When we get all five guys in the match we are as good as anyone in the country."
Thomas took home the second medalist honor in five collegiate tournaments. Sophomore Bobby Wyatt finished tied for fourth with Hunter Hamrick and Trey Mullinax tying for seventh. Cory Whitsett finished tied for 19th at even-par 216.
Georgia Tech's James White had held the individual lead most of the round, but Thomas caught fire on the back nine and strung together five birdies in seven holes beginning on No. 11. A bogey at the last for Thomas left him with a one-shot victory against Oklahoma State's Talor Gooch and two strokes clear of White. He carded rounds of 67, 71 and 68 to equal his career-low of 10-under 206.
"By the 14th hole you could see it in Justin's eyes that he knew he was close," Seawell said. "Justin is a winner and to make the birdie that he did coming in on the difficult 17th hole shows that. He has proven to all of college golf that he is not just one of the best freshman, but one of the best players in the country."
Wyatt shot a 73 in the final round and finished tied for fourth at 5-under-par 211. Hamrick and Mullinax also finished strong with 2-under-par rounds of 70 to post a 3-under-par total of 213 and tie for seventh position. Whitsett carded a 1-under 71 on Tuesday as all five Crimson Tide golfers finished at par or better for the 54-hole event.