Tide Goes For 3 Straight Crowns

Justin Thomas

Most followers of Alabama athletics have their eyes on a Three-Peat --first the gymnastics team of Coach Sarah Patterson winning a third consecutive national championship, and then next fall/winter the Crimson Tide football team of Coach Nick Saban making it three BCS titles in a row. This week in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, the Bama men's golf team goes for a somewhat more modest three straight.



The third-ranked Alabama men's golf team gets the 2013 spring schedule underway today (Sunday, Feb. 17) at the Puerto Rico Classic on the 6,902-yard, par-72 River Course at the Rio Mar Country Club.

This year will mark Alabama's ninth consecutive trip to Puerto Rico. The team will be seeking back-to-back-to-back victories on the island, and going for four team wins in six years. The tournament will run Sunday to Tuesday with 18 holes played daily.

Bama Coach Jay Seawell can make up his lineup card quicky since he can start with three All-America players. Number one for Alabama is Justin Thomas, last year's national player of the year as a freshman. He also inserts All-America performers Cory Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt in the second and third spots. Tom Lovelady in the No. 4 position and Scott Strohmeyer in the fifth position.

Thomas is ranked seventh in the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, which Wyatt is 16th and Whitsett is 71st.

Thomas, of Goshen, Ky., took home medalist honors a season ago with a 10-under-par 206. Alabama had four players among the top seven individuals en route to an 18-stroke victory at 30-under-par 834.

Thomas leads the team with a 70.40 scoring average with Wyatt and Whitsett close behind at 71.83 and 72.13, respectively. Strohmeyer is averaging 74.78 strokes per round while Lovelady has a 75.0 average.

Along with No. 3 Alabama, the 15-team field includes No. 9 Georgia Tech, No. 11 Georgia, No. 15 SMU, No. 19 Clemson, No. 27 Northwestern, No. 31 North Carolina, Augusta State, East Tennessee State, Michigan, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Purdue and Virginia Tech.

The Alabama golf team continues the 2013 portion of its schedule on March 8-10 at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters at the Southern Highlands Golf Club in Las Vegas, Nev.

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