’Bama collects 1st SEC title in program history
Alabama won its first SEC Championship Sunday, with four players finishing inside the top 16. The only team to finish in the red, Alabama also set a 54-hole school record with its 4-under 848 at the NorthRiver Yacht Club in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Crimson Tide, No. 7 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, had finished runner-up at the conference championship three times. The team made a big charge in Round 2 with a 6-under 278 and entered the final round tied with Vanderbilt at 3 under. Alabama sealed the victory with a 1-under 283 in Round 3 to beat the 24th-ranked Commodores, who were at even-par 852, by four shots.
“It’s one of, if not the best golf conference in the county, and to be the champion of it is a tremendous honor,” Alabama head coach Mic Potter said following Sunday’s win. “The SEC Championships are big to us, big to our athletic department and it’s a goal that our team has had all year. It’s a goal accomplished. We’ve got to enjoy it for a day or two and then get ready for regionals.”
No. 32 Arkansas was third at 7-over 859 and No. 16 Georgia was fourth another shot back. No. 3 Auburn, the defending SEC champions, finished fifth at 861.
No. 11 Florida, the third-highest ranked team in the SEC, finished 10th at 37-over 889.
Vanderbilt sophomore Marina Alex, No. 5 in Golfweek’s rankings, won the individual title after beating Tennessee’s Erica Popson in a two-hole playoff. Both players finished at 5-under 208.
Alex moved to the top of the individual race in Round 2 with a 6-under 65 that included eight birdies. Popson charged up the leaderboard in the final round, moving from T-4 into a share of the lead after a 68.
Georgia’s Marta Silva Zamora started the final round tied for the lead with Alex, but a 73 dropped her to third at 209. Arkansas’ Kelli Shean was fourth.
Alabama’s Brooke Pancake and Helena Blomberg finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Teammate Jennifer Kirby was T-10 and Camilla Lennarth ended the tournament in 16th.
Auburn’s Cydney Clanton, Golfweek’s top-ranked player, was T-7 at 1-under 212.
With the win, Alabama secured an automatic qualifying spot into an NCAA Regional, to be played May 6-8.
– Information from the University of Alabama used in this report.