Here is a recap of the stroke-play portion of the 2017 SEC Championship, which concluded Saturday and was played at Sea Island Golf Club’s Seaside Course in St. Simons Island, Ga.
The tournament will now move on to its match-play portion, with those teams in the top eight through 54 holes of stroke play passing through. (This is the first year of match play at this event; read more about the change here.)
Find the quarterfinal match-play pairings at the bottom of this post.
Anyway, a look back at what occurred in stroke play.
TEAM MEDALIST: Vanderbilt (11-under 829). The Commodores posted the second-best round of the day Saturday, and that meant victory for Vanderbilt. A closing 8-under 272 pushed Vanderbilt from two behind Texas A&M to six ahead. While this isn’t an SEC Championship won – as match play is still to come – this marks the first time in school history that the Commodores have come in first in stroke play at the conference championship. Vanderbilt finished eighth at this event last year (the final year of a stroke-play-only format) and the previous best finish in the stroke-play portion for the Commodores was a T-2 in 2015.
Regardless, a milestone and an interesting experiment upcoming for the Commodores. This is the team’s third medalist showing of the season, but Vanderbilt still technically hasn’t won a tournament since early October (Nike Collegiate Invitational). But the Commodores did win the stroke-play portion of the East Lake Cup, only to lose in the semifinals and then a consolation match in the match-play portion. Vanderbilt also went 0-2 (losing in the quarterfinals both times) in match play at the 2015 and ’16 NCAA Championships after finishing second and T-4 in the stroke-play portion of those events. So for the No. 2 Commodores, this will be a good test of match-play prowess after stroke-play success as nationals approaches.
INDIVIDUAL CHAMPION: Alejandro Tosti, Florida (10-under 200). Tosti needed two extra holes to do it, but the junior is now an individual champion for the SEC. Tosti was in position the whole way, opening with a 6-under 64 early Friday to move into a one-shot lead. He retained that margin with a second-round 69 later Friday, but Vanderbilt’s Patrick Martin caught him in Saturday’s final round. A closing bogey-free 3-under 67 for Tosti appeared it might not be enough, as he was 10 under coming to the final hole of regulation while Martin was 11 under at the same point after going birdie-par-birdie-par-eagle-par-birdie to play his previous seven holes in 5 under. But a bogey at 18 from Martin meant a playoff. Tosti would win with a 4 to Martin’s 5 on the second extra hole. This is Tosti’s second win of the season and the third of his college career.
QUOTABLE: “He’s just amazing. I’m so proud of his hard work. He’s put a lot of time and effort into his game, working on his metal game and maturing and it paid off today, winning the SEC tournament. It’s a pretty incredible feat.” – Florida Head Coach J.C. Deacon on Tosti, said to University of Florida Athletics
CHIP SHOTS: Martin actually finishes runner-up to Tosti for the second time this season, as the sophomore was T-2 at the Tavistock Collegiate Invitational that Tosti won. Martin does have a victory this season, though, at the Schenkel Invitational. … That duo placed well ahead of the rest, as Texas A&M’s Chandler Phillips and Ole Miss’ Braden Thornberry were tied for third, at 6 under. … A closing 66 secures Sam Burns a T-9 finish at 3 under. Burns will enter regionals still having finished top 10 in every event this season. … No. 21 Ole Miss jumped two spots on the final day to tie for seventh at 12 over. That earned the Rebels the No. 8 seed in match play. … Defending champion Georgia, ranked 23rd, fails to qualify for match play. A 4-under 276 only moved the Bulldogs up one spot to T-9 at 16 over. … No. 28 Arkansas struggled to a 12th-place finish but boasted a stellar final round. The Razorbacks closed in 12-under 268, the day’s best round, to move to 19 over and well clear of the 13th- and 14th-place finishers.
MATCH-PLAY PAIRINGS: Here’s a look at Sunday morning’s quarterfinal matches, with seedings and tee times:
- No. 1 Vanderbilt vs. No. 8 Ole Miss, tee times from 7:30-8:10 a.m. ET off No. 1 tee
- No. 2 Texas A&M vs. No. 7 Missouri, tee times from 8:20-9 a.m. ET off No. 1 tee
- No. 4 Florida vs. No. 5 South Carolina, tee times from 7:30-8:10 a.m. ET off No. 10 tee
- No. 3 LSU vs. No. 6 Alabama, tee times from 8:20-9 a.m. ET off No. 10 tee