Alabama overcomes six-stroke deficit to beat Florida at Baton Rouge Regional
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Alabama shot the lowest round of the day by six shots to overtake Florida and win the 2013 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional on the par-72, 7,436-yard University Club on Saturday.
The Crimson Tide overcame an eight-shot deficit after 36 holes to beat the Gators by six strokes with a 6-under 282 for a 4-over 868. Florida carded an 8-over 296 in the final round to finish second at 10-over 274, while LSU vaulted up the leaderboard for a third-place showing at 26-over 890. The Tigers shot 5-over 293 in the final round.
Tennessee made it four teams from the SEC advancing to the NCAA championships out of the Baton Rouge Regional with an even-par round on Saturday and a 28-over 892. Coastal Carolina secured the final NCAA berth with a 30-over 894.
It was Alabama's seventh team victory of the year, setting a school record for wins in a season. The low individual not on an advancing team was Tyler Klava of South Alabama.
"They did a really great job," Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. "We played really good all week. Looking back, we might have been a little rusty; we had not played a competitive round since SECs. This team never gave in, and I'm proud of them. You get in these regionals and your mindset is qualifying [for NCAAs], but their mindset was to run to the front and it was a really special round."
Senior Scott Strohmeyer won his first individual tournament title in the next-to-last event of his career. He carded a 3-under 69 in Saturday's final round to beat teammate Bobby Wyatt by two shots at 4-under 212.
"Scott [Strohmeyer]'s win really was special," Sewell said. "We were clearly in the NCAAs and with three holes to go, I think I was more nervous than I have ever been. Those last three holes are really hard and Strohmeyer just played great. I'm really proud and happy for him. He works very hard, and he is a leader. He has always been dedicated to this game, and it is great that he gets this moment."
The 212 was the second-lowest 54-hole total of Strohmeyer's career after shooting 6-under 210 at the 2013 Aggie Invitational to finish third. He made three birdies in the first seven holes on Saturday. A bogey on the ninth hole left him at 2-under at the turn. He made eagle on the par-5 11th hole to move to 4-under. Strohmeyer then made six consecutive pars before a bogey on the 18th.
Junior Bobby Wyatt carded the tournament's low round with a 6-under 66 that also marked his best round of the season. He finished runner-up for the second time in three events and the fifth time in his three years in Tuscaloosa. Wyatt began the day tied for 14th, but made three birdies and a bogey on the front nine and four more birdies (10th, 12th, 13th, and 18th) on the back nine to put pressure on his teammate.
"Bobby [Wyatt] played spectacular golf," Seawell said. "He always seems to have a teammate in front of him when he finishes second, but he is going to get his [chance to win] and I am looking forward to that."
Alabama sophomore Justin Thomas also posted a top-10 finish with a tie for sixth at 2-over 218. He shot 1-over 73 on Saturday. Junior Cory Whitsett, who came into the event leading the team in scoring, finished tied for 30th at 11-over 227. It was the first time in seven events he has finished outside of the top 10. Trey Mullinax's 75 was dropped from Alabama's score in the final round and he finished tied for 37th individually.
The Crimson Tide advanced to its 15th NCAA championships, seventh under Seawell and third in a row.