TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Behind the impressive play of freshman Cory Whitsett and junior Bud Cauley, the third-ranked Alabama men's golf team won the Linger Longer Invitational by 18 strokes Tuesday to capture its fifth tournament victory of the season.
Cauley fired a final round 67 to pull even with Whitsett late in the round, but the Houston, Texas, native birdied the par-5, 540-yard 18th hole for the third straight day to edge Cauley by a stroke for the first medalist honor of his young career.
Whitsett finished with a career-low 13-under-par 203 to defeat the defending Linger Longer medalist Cauley, who shot 12-under over the final two rounds to close with a 12-under 204.
"It was great for Cory to get his first tournament win as a freshman," Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. "I think Bud pushed him and made him better this week. This tournament got more out of his talent than any practice session ever could."
Cauley's final round saw him get to 5-under-par after 11 holes before a bogey on the 17th. He quickly rebounded with a birdie on 18 but it wasn't enough with Whitsett's closing birdie. Cauley lowered his season scoring average to 70.21 and his average versus par to -.92 while Whitsett is averaging 71.14 strokes per round.
"Bud (Cauley) showed again why I think he is the best golfer in the country," Seawell said. "He is making all of our players better with the level of his play right now, which is just astounding.
As a team, the Crimson Tide ran away from the field with a 4-under-par final round of 284 to finish with an 18-under-par 846. Chattanooga held on to beat both Georgia and Stanford with an even-par total of 864. The Bulldogs and Cardinal finished tied for third at 2-over 866.
"I am very proud of the guys," Seawell said. "They bounced back after a very disappointing match play event last week and that is what championship teams do. They turned it around and played some great golf this week and got another win."
Freshman Trey Mullinax posted a 54-hole total of 218 (+2) to finish in a tie for 13th place after shooting 1-over 73 on Tuesday. Both Lee Knox and Hunter Hamrick also shot 73 with Knox closing in a tie for 40th at 10-over 226 and Hamrick tied for 48th at 12-over 228.
Alabama returns to action in just four days at the Augusta State Invitational on April 2-3 at Forest Hill Country Club in Augusta, Ga.