Alabama Men’s Golf Season Summary
The University of Alabama men's golf team has concluded the 2023 regular season. However, the Tide is heading to postseason play with two wins and five top-5 finishes.
There is no better way to kick off the season than with a win and an individual medalist honor. That is precisely what the Crimson Tide did in its season opener at the Rod Myers Invitational in Durham, NC.
Senior Canon Claycomb helped pull the team to victory by shooting an 11-under-par 205. Teammates Thomas Ponder and Nick Dunlap were right behind him as Alabama captured the top-3 spots in the field.
Riding the momentum from its opening win, the team found top-5 finishes at the Fighting Illini Invitational and at home in the SEC Match Play. After finishing ninth at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate, the team wasted no time returning to standard. They again finished in the top five at the John Hayt Intercollegiate and the Watersound Invitational.
Next on the Schedule, the Tide headed to Los Cabos, Mexico, for the Cabo Collegiate. Claycomb and the rest of the team were excited to get to the event to avoid the cool weather of early March in Tuscaloosa.
"Cabo every year is the one I look forward to the most," said Claycomb. "It's a sick trip."
Even with the excitement for the trip and momentum from the two previous tournaments, the Crimson Tide played its worst golf of the season. They ended the Cabo Collegiate at No. 13 out of 15 teams.
Head coach Jay Seawell sat his team down after the long trip to remind them of their skill and the "identity" of Alabama golf. Seawell's words must have hit home as the team responded strongly in the following event, the Linger Longer Invitational. Freshman Nick Dunlap, who had played well all season, finally had his coming out moment. He posted a 10-under-par 206 to take first place individual medalist honors. With help from JP Cave and Ponder, the Tide was also able to capture its second team win of the season. Dunlap had his best performance of the year but was selfless in his victory.
"It's a great feeling," Dunlap said. "Coming off our performance at Cabo, we viewed this tournament as a bounce back. It feels good to win my first tournament, but to do it and help the team to a victory makes it even more sweet. It was a great team win today."
The Crimson Tide wrapped up its regular season at the Mossy Oak Collegiate, finishing No. 6.
With the regular season now concluded, the team is focusing full steam ahead on postseason play, the first leg being the SEC championships. The SEC championship has been held at Sea Island, Georgia, since 2001, which brings some familiarity for the upperclassmen. In addition, senior Thomas Ponder believes that the team's prior experience with the course helps their preparation.
"All of us have played it, and we kind of know what shots the seaside course demands," Ponder said. "And we can cater our practice and play to the similarities of the course."
The 2022 SEC championship saw Alabama exit the third round in last place. The Tide will face a similarly tricky field this year, with nine top-25 teams in attendance. The 2023 SEC Championships are April 19-23 at the Seaside Course in Sea Island, Georgia. The crimson and white will undoubtedly look to continue its impressive regular season play.
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