AUGUSTA, Ga. — With The Masters on the horizon, Alabama had their own major moment on Sunday, firing off a 6-under-par final round that propelled them to a sixth-place finish at the Augusta Haskins Award Invitational.
While a sixth-place finish might not seem major, the Tide’s final day push could prove crucial to their postseason dreams.
In order to be considered for an at-large selection for an NCAA Regional, teams must have an overall record of .500 or better against other Division I teams.
Alabama entered their final regular-season tournament with a 37-39-1 record, which would’ve left them ineligible. After Sunday’s final round, the Crimson Tide now sit two games above .500 headed into the SEC Championship.
“I am really proud of our guys. They responded on a day that we desperately needed to have a good round,” said Head Coach Jay Seawell.
Junior Canon Claycomb led the way for Alabama, firing off a final round 67 (-5) that was highlighted by an eagle and four birdies. He finished T11 for the tournament, continuing his streak of six straight top-25 finishes.
One of the biggest storylines of the tournament for the Tide was the reemergence of Sophomore JP Cave.
After posting six consecutive rounds over-par headed into the week, Cave bounced back with a pair of under-par outings (71, 69) in Augusta. His best finish of the spring season (T16, -2) will provide a much-needed boost headed into the postseason.
Despite an opening-round 79, Charlie Nikitas bounced back to shoot one-under-par over the final two rounds. He finished T42 (+6) in his return to the starting lineup.
Thomas Ponder and Jack Goldasich finished 53rd (+8) and T68 (+18) respectively for Alabama.
No one could catch No. 12 Texas, as they took home the team title by 26 shots.
Alabama now turns its attention to securing a postseason berth as they head to the SEC Championships. They’ll need a finish in the top half of the field to maintain their NCAA Regional eligibility.
“We have proved we can play with the best teams in the country, but we just need to be more consistent… Now we have to take care of business there so we can get into NCAA Regionals, which we are hosting,” said Coach Seawell.
The Crimson Tide will begin their postseason run on April 20th at the SEC Championships in Sea Island, Ga. The final round of match play will be broadcast on the SEC Network, while live scoring is available on Golfstat.com.
PHOTO CREDIT to Jeff Hanson.