Junior Whitsett, No. 2 Alabama win Linger Longer for third consecutive year
GREENSBORO, Ga. -- Alabama junior Cory Whitsett and the No. 2 Crimson Tide are beginning to make winning the Linger Longer Invitational a habit as both claimed victory for the third consecutive year on Sunday in the weather-shortened event on the Great Waters Course at Reynolds Plantation.
Thunderstorms delayed Saturday's first round forcing the continuation of round two Sunday morning, which was also delayed, causing the event to be shortened to 36 holes.
Alabama stretched its final margin of victory to 16 shots ahead of host Kennesaw State as it finished round two. The Crimson Tide posted a 9-under 279 on Sunday for a two-day total of 16-under 560. KSU finished at even-par 576 with No. 18 Oklahoma State one shot back in third at 1-over 577. No. 7 Georgia Tech (+3, 579) was fourth with No. 10 Georgia (+6, 582) in fifth.
"I really like how we have basically played a different lineup every week and still won golf tournaments," Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. "We are getting quality starts from 1-5 in each tournament and that is the key to success.
"We do have a big three in Bobby [Wyatt], Cory [Whitsett] and Justin [Thomas], but what makes out team one of the best is our fourth and fifth players in the lineup -- [Scott] Strohmeyer and Trey Mullinax this week. Trey finished top 10 this week and Strohmeyer did that in Las Vegas. I am really proud of how the entire team has played."
Whitsett, from Houston, Texas, has now won medalist honors at the Linger Longer in each of his three years playing for Alabama. He made birdie on the 17th and 18th holes to shoot 2-under 70 in the final round for a one-shot win against Nicholas Reach of Georgia and Richard James of South Florida. Whitsett finished at 7-under 137 for the fourth medalist honor of his career.
"You could hear it in our team van on the way down to the tournament with his teammates giving Cory a hard time about owning the course," Seawell said. "I just think the course fits his eye. The par 5s are all reachable for him, and I think he is very comfortable. Anytime you are comfortable as a golfer good things are probably going to happen. Now we just need to find a way to get comfortable on every golf course we play."
Alabama placed four players in the top 10 with junior Bobby Wyatt tying for fifth at 3-under-par 141 after a 2-under 70 in the second and final round. Sophomore Justin Thomas and junior Trey Mullinax tied for 10th at 1-under-par 143.
Scott Strohmeyer finished tied for 28th but carded a blazing final-round 68 to help secure Alabama's team victory. Tom Lovelady and Lee Knox both played as individuals and finished tied for 46th and tied for 54th, respectively. Knox shot 1-under 71 in the final round.
The Crimson Tide has now won three of four events this spring and has four total tournament wins this season. The only time UA has not been in the winner's circle this spring was a tie for second at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters where they finished back of No. 1 California.