Alabama men's golf off to great start at NCAA Central Regional


ZIONSVILLE, Ind. – The Alabama men's golf team got off to the strong start they were looking for in the first round of the NCAA Central Regional at the par-71, 7,025-yard Wolf Run Golf Club with at 6-under-par 278 on Thursday afternoon.

The third-ranked Crimson Tide are in a tie for second place, one shot back of second-seeded Illinois (-7, 277) and tied with Michigan (-6, 278). Stanford and Iowa round out the top-five with the Cardinal at even-par 284 and Iowa at 1-over 285. Tennessee is in sixth place at 3-over 287.

The top-five teams after 54 holes of play advance to the 2011 NCAA Championship at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla., on May 31-June 5.

"We finished strong today," Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. "I think we were 6-under over the final three holes and that got us right up near the lead with Illinois. I wasn't sure how we were playing in the middle of the round but we were able to salvage a good score. I was proud of how we played today. We have put ourselves in a good position."

The Tide was led by its veterans on Thursday as juniors Bud Cauley and Hunter Hamrick both fired 3-under-par rounds of 68 to join a seven-way tie for first place. Freshman Trey Mullinax finished at 2-under-par 69 and is tied for eighth position. Cory Whitsett was UA's final counting score in round one with a 2-over-par 73.

Cauley continued this dominant play with a round that included six birdies and three bogeys en route to a 3-under 68. After a bogey five on the 14th hole, Cauley and slipped back to 1-under, but back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th holes left him atop the leader board.

Hamrick also carded a 3-under 68 to enter Friday's second round tied for the lead. It was his second straight round of 68 after also firing that in the final round of the SEC Championships and his third round in the 60s over his past seven rounds of golf. Hamrick registered three birdies, two bogeys and an eagle three on the par-5, 515-yard 17th hole.

"Hunter is a guy whose golf game is trending up," Seawell said. "His junior year hasn't always gone the way he wanted it to, but he has really started to play well lately. His confidence is growing and this golf course sets up well for his game. He's an all American, and we need him to play like that the rest of the way."

Mullinax recorded three birdies on the front side to make the turn with a 32. He finished with four total birdies and two bogeys for a 69 and the third round in the 60s of his career.

Whitsett birdied the 17th and 18th holes to close an up-and-down round on a positive note. He had five birdies, three bogeys and two double bogeys to tie for 28th. Wyatt was the Tide's drop score in the first round with a 6-over-par 77.

INFORMATION SOURCE: University of Alabama Athletics