HUTCHINSON, Kan. -- Alabama senior Bobby Wyatt arrived at the university four years ago, to a program that had never won a national championship. He unwittingly signed as part of a trio of seniors that are the most successful in program history.
He leaves today as a back-to-back champion after defeating Oklahoma State in match play. Wyatt faced the Cowboys' Talor Gooch in the first pairing of the day. The two battled for 16 holes, but Wyatt maintained a steady hold throughout. He won 3 & 2 and his round included a hole-in-one on the second hole.The experience left Wyatt reflecting on the past four years. He's part of a team that's immortalized itself in NCAA golf history, a team that's been as dominant in the regular season -- more than 120 wins compared to five losses this season-- as it has been in the post-season.
If you had told Wyatt four years ago that he'd be standing here today, he would not have believed you.
"It’s been an unbelievable ride. It’s been more than I ever could've thought," he said.
He leaves Prairie Dunes, and soon Alabama, with more than just successes on the golf course. He's grown as a person, made lifelong friends, and had an experience of a lifetime. All because of a decision he made as an 18-year-old, when he left high school as an elite recruit.
"It’s been the best experience of my life. I'll remember this the rest of my life, no doubt," Wyatt said. "It’s certainly an experience that shaped me more than anything."
Four years ago, Wyatt lacked maturity on and off the golf course. All that changed under Alabama coach Jay Seawell, who helped mold Wyatt into a soon-to-be professional, teaching life lessons along the way.
"He's been there for me no matter what,” Wyatt said of Seawell. “He's stuck with me, through the ups and downs, kept me out of trouble. He's really shaped me into a man, and helped me mature on and off the golf course.
"Just day in and day out, his positive energy, always optimistic. I used to be a pessimist when I got here, but not anymore."
Along the way, Wyatt bonded with fellow seniors Trey Mullinax and Cory Whitsett. The trio came together to build a dynasty, reaching the NCAA championship three times.
"We're great friends, we've lived together throughout college,” Wyatt noted. “We've worked tirelessly together, and spent hours and hours and hours at the golf course getting better. "This year has been really special having us three as seniors. Being with these guys, I'll never forget."
All three are turning professional after the summer, and likely will meet on the course again. But for now, Wyatt is taking time to reminisce on the best experience of his life.
"It’s been an experience that I'm more than proud of," he said. "I'm sorry to see it end, but it’s been awesome."