Key players for 'Bama battle back in Las Vegas
Friday, March 7, 2014
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LAS VEGAS – Freshman Robby Shelton and seniors Bobby Wyatt and Cory Whitsett turned a potential nightmare round for Alabama into something they can work with heading into Saturday’s second round.
Before making the turn at Southern Highlands Golf Club, things weren’t going the Tide’s way. As a team, they were 16 over.
Then the tide turned – pun intended.
First, Whitsett (1-over 73) holed out for eagle at the par-4 11th, and then Wyatt (4-over 76) did the same on the par-4 16th. Shelton (72) hit a laser 2-iron into the green from 228 yards at 18, hitting the flagstick and leaving just 4 feet for a third team eagle. He drained it.
Alabama finished the first round with a 11-over 299 total.
“It was a very tough day, but we battled,” said head coach Jay Seawell. “We righted the ship on the back nine … we will get back to playing Alabama golf.”
This is Alabama’s third tournament over the last 18 days.
The spring season started for the top-ranked team in the country at the Puerto Rico Classic in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, at the end of February, which the Tide won to extend its winning streak to 11 tournaments.
The team went home for two days before leaving for the SMU Querencia Cabo Collegiate Invitational in Los Cabos, Mexico – where the Tide's streak would end at the hands of Houston.
“Houston played really well. They should get all the credit,” Seawell added. “We didn’t do the things we needed to do to win. It was nothing really big, Houston just played better than we did.”
After playing in Mexico, the team came straight to Las Vegas with the exception of one player. Freshman Gavin Moynihan played in Cabo, while sophomore Tom Lovelady didn't, instead meeting the team in Las Vegas.
This decision to change the lineup was made back in January when players were qualifying for these tournaments.
One young gun the Tide couldn't keep out of lineup was Shleton. With a even-par 72 on Friday, Shelton is currently T-6, including a trio of threes on his card from Nos. 16-18, while playing his last six holes in 4 under.
Seawell walked with Shelton for all 18 holes on Friday. He wanted to make sure Shelton was prepared as possible for his first round at Southern Highlands Golf Club.
“He was a lot of help today,” Shelton said. “He helped me with numbers keeping the wind in mind, and targets off the tee.”
Shelton, who is currently two shots back of the individual leaders, is looking for his third win in just seven starts for the Tide.
“I just need to go and practice for a bit, and play my game over the next two rounds.”