Alabama rallies to defend Darius Rucker title

Alabama won the team title at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate.

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Alabama successfully defended its Darius Rucker Intercollegiate title Sunday at Long Cove Club on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The defending national champions rallied from seven shots behind Vanderbilt after the second round and finished the tournament four shots ahead of Vandy and LSU.

Alabama, No. 4 in Golfweek’s rankings, shot its best 18-hole score in Round 2, an even-par 288, but Vanderbilt, No. 15, outscored the Crimson Tide by six shots that day. Alabama’s final-round 291 was the second lowest of the day (behind seventh-place Virginia’s 290), and allowed the team to climb into the lead. Junior Stephanie Meadow was key in Alabama’s final-round rally, posting a 4-under 67 that bumped her into third individually at 1-over 214. Freshman Emma Talley was T-12, and the next three players on the Alabama roster were part of a five-way tie for 17th.

“I was very proud of the effort and toughness this team displayed to find a way to win this golf tournament,” head coach Mic Potter said. “A difficult golf course like this one will frustrate everyone, and it is a battle of attrition to see who can overcome that adversity. The thing we did well was being able to bounce back. You never know what is going to happen on a good hard golf course.”

Alabama also won the Lady Puerto Rico Classic earlier this spring, and ended last fall tied for first with Florida at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational (Alabama lost the ensuing team playoff).

A share of second is the best finish so far this season for a young LSU team, ranked No. 32 by Golfweek. Sophomore Madalene Sagstrom finished second for the Tigers with an even-par 213.

Arizona State, No. 18, finished seven shots behind LSU and Vanderbilt. North Carolina, bidding for its fourth consecutive victory this season, finished tied for fifth with Arkansas at 37-over 889. Arizona State's Noemi Jimenez won the individual title with a 4-under 209 total. It's her second consecutive title after also winning the Cal Classic.

Information from Alabama Athletics used in this report

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