PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – For the last two days, Scott Strohmeyer has been a leader for Alabama in the match play portion of the NCAA Championships at Riviera Country Club.

Not bad for someone who wasn’t even on the starting roster three months ago.

The redshirt junior has shown a passion for match play, winning both his quarterfinal and semifinal match.

“He loves match play,” said coach Jay Seawell. “He’s a 22-year-old junior and he is relishing in this light. Some things bring out players, you never know what it is. He’s been a huge part of our program. These last two days he’s basically been our leader.”

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When the spring season started, Strohmeyer played the first event and then was on the sidelines. It was a frustrating feeling, but one he knew he could rectify it with good play.

“It shows how deep our team is,” Strohmeyer said. “There are three-four guys sitting at home that could be out here doing the same thing I am doing. Our team is very, very deep. We are always competing for the five spot.”

Seawell likes to challenge his players and is constantly having qualifiers to gage their talent.

“Coach would throw us in qualifiers all the time and sometimes it was low man go and other times it would be coach’s pick,” Strohmeyer said. “He wanted to see who could perform under uncomfortable situations.”

Right before the Southern Collegiate Masters in early March, Seawell had another qualifier and Strohmeyer won it. He was selected for the fifth spot and hasn’t given it up since.

“Coach gave me an opportunity and I tried to take advantage of it,” Strohmeyer said. “He liked what he saw and kept me in there.”

Strohmeyer almost lost the spot. Not because of his play, but because of a lower back injury. He tweaked his back at the Gary Koch Invitational in Tampa Bay, Fla. in early April.  Fortunately he was able to get better with the help of the school’s training staff.

“Coaches didn’t want me taking a spot if I was hurt, especially with how deep our team is,” Strohmeyer said. “But our trainers got me fixed up and it worked out.”

Back issues have plagued Strohmeyer for a couple of years but he feels now he knows how to deal with it when it happens.

“I was kind of worried when it happened but I’ve learned how to manage it and get through it,” Strohmeyer said. “The trainers have given me exercises to do and stretches in case it flairs up.”

When it came time to announce the lineup for the Regionals and the NCAA Championships, Seawell picked Strohmeyer as the No. 5 player.

“We made a decision that we thought he would be a better player in the five hole for many reasons and it’s turned out to be a good move,” Seawell said. “He’s made the most of his opportunity.”

It is an opportunity Strohmeyer is proud of and doesn’t plan on relinquishing.

“This is what you dream of when you come to college,” he said. “It’s been our goal to win the championships so to have a chance to do that is really special.”