Just one week after a poor finish in Cabo, Alabama won the Linger Longer Invitational by eight shots, snatching both the team and individual titles.
Competing against a field that included seven ranked opponents – including No. 1 Vanderbilt – the Crimson Tide held or co-held the lead after each round of the 54-hole tournament en route to its second team title of the season.
“I couldn’t be prouder of how the boys responded,” said head coach Jay Seawell.
“Anytime you are coming off a poor tournament, you want to have the type of team that responds. That is exactly what we did.”
A major contributor to Alabama’s win was freshman Nick Dunlap, who took home the individual crown after firing rounds of 70-66-70 to finish the week at -10. Dunlap, who is now ranked No. 18 in the NCAA (per Golfstat’s rankings), recorded just five bogies over his three rounds.
“It feels good to win my first tournament, but to do it and help the team to a victory makes it even more sweet,” Dunlap said.
With the win, Dunlap also became the first Alabama freshman to win an individual title since PGA Tour member Robby Shelton did it during the 2013-2014 season.
Seawell had high praise for his young star, but the win didn’t come as a surprise.
“I thought Nick played incredible all week. You could see this coming. He’s healthy, his confidence continues to grow, and you could tell he was getting his mojo back.”
Perhaps the biggest factor in the Tide’s win was capitalizing on the par-5s. They shot 19-under on par-5s for the week, besting all other teams in the field by two shots. Alabama also made the most eagles of any team (three), all of which came of par-5s.
Two other Alabama players: Thomas Ponder and JP Cave, also finished inside the top-10 with 54-hole scores of one-under and three-under respectively.
Canon Claycomb finished T24 (+3) including a two-under 70 on Sunday, his best round of the week.
Jones Free, who competed as an individual, finished T18 at two-over.
Jonathan Griz opened with a three-under 69, but closed with rounds of 79 and 87 to round out the starting lineup for the Tide.
Following the win, Alabama climbed to No. 17 in Golfstat’s team rankings, up from No. 20.
The Crimson Tide will finish the regular season at the Mossy Oak Collegiate in West Point, Miss. from April 2-3.
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Photo Credit to UA Athletics.