NCAA Stockton Regional Awaits No. 7/8 Alabama Men’s Golf Team
The No. 7/8 Alabama men’s golf team will open play at the 2018 NCAA Stockton Regional on Monday morning on the par 72, 7,132-yard Reserve at Spanos Park layout.
It marks the second consecutive season the Crimson Tide will head West for regional play. Last season, Alabama finished tied for third at the Washington (Sammamish) Regional to advance to the 2017 NCAA Championship where the Tide finished 17th overall.
The Stockton Regional, which is hosted by Pacific University, features No. 1 seed and sixth-ranked LSU, followed by the No. 2 seed and seventh-ranked Crimson Tide. Together, the Tigers and Tide are two of a record 14 Southeastern Conference teams who earned a spot in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. The rest of the 13-team field includes: No. 3 seed and 18th-ranked Stanford, No. 4 and 19th-ranked USC, No. 5 and 30th-ranked Oregon, No. 6 and 31st-ranked TCU, No. 7 Colorado, No. 8 Kansas, No. 9 Kennesaw State, No. 10 Iowa State, No. 11 UNC Greensboro, No. 12 UC Irvine and No. 13 North Dakota State.
Alabama’s lineup for the weekend remains the same as the previous three tournaments and is led by senior Lee Hodges and junior Davis Riley, both of whom earned first team All-SEC honors and are ranked among the top 20 golfers in the nation, according to the latest Golfweek/Sagarin individual rankings.
Hodges has led the Crimson Tide all season and has played some of his best golf during the spring campaign. In the Tide’s six spring tournaments, the Ardmore, Tenn., native has claimed two medalist honors (Puerto Rico Classic and Linger Longer Invitational), owns four top-10 finishes and five top-15 results. Hodges, who was tabbed the SEC Men’s Golfer of the Week for the week of March 21, is currently ranked No. 12 in the nation according to the Golfweek/Sagarin individual rankings and tops the squad in stroke average (70.63), average vs. par (-0.57) and rounds of par or better (20) this year.
Meanwhile, Riley has had an equally impressive season and enters the NCAA Stockton Regional ranked No. 20 in the nation according to the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. The Hattiesburg, Miss., native ranks just behind Hodges in both stroke average (70.90) and average vs. par (-0.30). Riley claimed medalist honors at the Olympia Fields/Illini Invitational last fall, on his way to earning SEC Golfer of the Week recognition on Sept. 17. He tops the Tide with four top-five finishes, while his six top-10 results are tied with Hodges for the team lead. Riley earns his third straight All-SEC honors after being voted as a second-team all-league performer in each of the past two seasons.
Senior Jonathan Hardee ranks third on the team with a 72.77 per round average, while his 1.57 average vs. par also is third-best on the team. Freshmen Davis Shore (73.30) and Wilson Furr (73.90) round out the Tide’s starting five. Both Shore and Furr are coming off a top-10 finish at the final regular season tournament – the Mason Rudolph Championship – finishing in second and seventh, respectively.
This year’s at-large bid marks the Tide’s 14th consecutive invitation to NCAA postseason competition and 22nd appearance overall in the tournament. Alabama has won four NCAA Regionals overall, three of which have come over the last six years. The Tide captured regional wins at the 2009 NCAA Galloway (N.J.) Regional, the 2012 NCAA Athens (Ga.) Regional, the 2013 NCAA Baton Rouge (La.) Regional and the 2014 NCAA Auburn (Ala.) Regional.
Alabama has advanced to the NCAA Men’s Golf National Championship 10 times in head coach Jay Seawell’s 16 years at the helm of the program, including six of the last seven seasons. The Crimson Tide has claimed two national championships (2013 and 2014) and finished runner up once (2012).
The top five teams from each of the six regional sites and the top individual finisher not on an advancing team will move on to the NCAA Men’s Golf National Championship, which will be played at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., on May 25-30. In all, the national championship will feature 30 teams and six individuals.
Live scoring for this year’s tournament can be found at www.Golfstat.com.