The Crimson Tide men's golf team makes its seventh straight trip to the NCAA postseason and its eighth in the last nine years under head coach Jay Seawell. The 2011 NCAA Indiana Regional tees off on May 19-21 and will be played at the par-72, 6,805-yard Wolf Run Golf Club in Zionsville, Ind. Alabama did not make it out of the 2010 NCAA New Haven Regional, but swept through the NCAA Northeast Regional in 2009 taking home the team trophy while Hunter Hamrick captured medalist honors. In 2011, UA returns with two of the nation's top juniors in Hamrick and Bud Cauley and a trio of freshmen that have provided UA with a potent lineup. Alabama will play its practice round at the Wolf Run Golf Club on Wednesday, May 18, before beginning its first-round on Thursday, May 19. Live stats can be found at www.golfstat.com.
Bama Tough Head-to-Head
No. 3 Alabama has been a great tournament team throughout the 2010-11 season with five tournament wins (Carpet Capital, Isleworth, Puerto Rico, Palmetto and Linger Longer). The Crimson Tide has not finished worse than fourth this season in nine stroke play events and boasts a head-to-head record of 108-9-0. Alabama is one of two teams (Florida) that has multiple wins over top-ranked Oklahoma State, beating the Cowboys with victories at the Isleworth Collegiate and the Puerto Rico Classic. UA is 2-2 against the Pokes, 1-0 vs. UCLA, 1-3 vs. Florida and 2-0 vs. Georgia Tech for a 6-5 mark vs. the top five. The Tide is 14-7 against the Golfweek/Sagarin top 10 and 37-9 against the top 25. UA has not lost to a team outside the top 25 with its lowest-ranked loss coming to No. 25 Clemson at the Insperity ASU Invitational.
Alabama has been even tougher against teams in the NCAA Indiana Regional at the Wolf Run Golf Club. The Crimson Tide boasts a 15-1 record against the field in Indiana, including a 2-0 mark vs. No. 2-seed Illinois, a 3-0 record vs. fourth-seed Stanford, 1-0 vs. No. 5 Wake Forest and 3-1 vs. No. 6 Tennessee. UA also has two wins over eighth-seed Florida State and 11th-seed Memphis while garnering single victories vs. No. 7 Indiana and No. 9 Michigan.
Alabama in the NCAAs
The Crimson Tide's bid to the Indiana Regional marks the eighth NCAA Regional appearance in the last nine years under head coach Jay Seawell. The Tide has made seven straight trips to regional action under Seawell since 2005 and also made an appearance in 2003 during his first year at the helm of the Tide. Prior to capturing the NCAA Northeast Regional title in 2009, Alabama's previous best was a second-place finish in 2007 and again in 1992 under head coach Dick Spybey. UA also participated in regional action in 2002, 1997, 1996, 1994, 1993 and 1991 for a total of 15 regional appearances.
Prior to the NCAA Tournament switching to regional format in 1991, the Crimson Tide made five NCAA Finals appearances in 1973-75, 1981 and 1983 under head coach Conrad Rehling. Alabama has 20 total appearance in the NCAA men's golf tournament. The 1975 team that featured Crimson Tide legend Jerry Pate earned UA's best finish in the NCAA Finals with a tie for third place. Following Rehling's last trip in 1983, Alabama didn't make its return to the NCAA Finals until 1992 when Spybey's squad finished 11th. Following trips to the NCAA Finals in 1993 and again in 1996, UA would not return for another eight years until Seawell's 2005 team advanced out of the East Regional. The 2007 season marked the beginning of three straight trips to the NCAA Championship as well as the Tide's best finish (sixth) since the tie for third in 1975. Alabama has been to the NCAA Finals a total of 12 times.
Three Tide Golfers Earn SEC Postseason Awards
Alabama men's golfers Bud Cauley and Cory Whitsett were named first-team All-SEC while freshman Bobby Wyatt was a second-team choice. Whitsett was also named the SEC Freshman of the Year and was joined by Wyatt on the All-Freshman team.
It is the third straight year for Cauley to earn first-team All-SEC honors after winning SEC Freshman of the Year accolades in 2009. He joins Steve Lowery as the only UA players to be selected to the SEC's first team three times. Cauley has seven top-10 finishes with a victory at the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Classic. He also leads the team and ranks second nationally with a 70.52 scoring average.
Whitsett is just behind Cauley with a 70.96 stroke average to rank fourth in the SEC and 10th nationally. He captured his first win at the Linger Longer Invitational where he shot a career-low 13-under-par 203 to edge Cauley by one stroke. He is just the second Tide player (Cauley) to earn first-team All-SEC honors as a true freshman.
Wyatt, missed three tournaments leading up the SEC Championship, has a 71.57 stroke average, which ranks eighth in the SEC. He boasts three top-five showings, including a runner-up finish at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate.
Tide Faces Tough Draw
As the case with any NCAA Regional, the competition in Indiana figures to be stiff, as 10 of the 14 teams competing are ranked in the top-60 according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Ratings Index, including five in the top 26. Second-seeded Illinois is ranked 11th nationally, while the No. 3-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes rank 18th nationally by Golfweek. Regional three-seed Stanford is ranked 21st, followed by Wake Forest (26th), Tennessee (23rd), Indiana (37th), Florida State (41st), Michigan (53rd) and Charlotte (59th).
High Ranking Individuals
The Crimson Tide's lineup features three the nation's top golfers in junior Bud Cauley and freshmen Cory Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt. Cauley ranks sixth in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, while Whitsett is 10th and Wyatt is 25th.
Crimson Tide under Seawell
Head Coach Jay Seawell has transformed Alabama in to perennial contender in his nine years at the Capstone. Since taking the Crimson Tide to NCAA Regional during his first year, 2003, this year's trip marks the seventh straight and eighth in the last nine years. Four of those eight regional appearances resulted in top-6 finishes, including a second-place finish in 2007 and a first place finish in 2009. Alabama claimed sixth place in 2008 and a tie for sixth in 2005. Seawell has taken four regional teams a step further to the NCAA Finals in the last six years (2005, 07-09). Alabama finished sixth in 2007, the best for a Seawell-coached team.