With four of five Crimson Tide players birdieing the final hole, Alabama won the Norman NCAA Regional and will now advance to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2018.
Entering the day with a two-shot lead over tournament host No. 9 Oklahoma, the team fired their best round of the week – a 13-under par 275 to take home a three-shot victory. All four Alabama players whose scores counted during Wednesday’s final round shot rounds of two-under par 70 or better.
All five Crimson Tide starters finished T28 or better, with three finishing inside the top 12.
“Having all five guys contribute I think is a big reason why we won today,” said head coach Jay Seawell.
“The loss to Vanderbilt (SEC Tournament Match Play Quarterfinals) hurt and I wondered how our guys would respond. I tell them all the time that the road to greatness comes through getting hurt and our guys really responded. I really feel the success this week came from confidence we gained after losing that match. We were determined not to feel like that again.”
Star freshman and All-SEC First Teamer Nick Dunlap led Alabama with a T4 (-9) finish. Dunlap opened with a round of 66 (-6) before closing with 71-70. He made just five bogies over the 54-hole tournament.
All-SEC Second Team member Canon Claycomb had a strong week, finishing T9 (-7) in Norman. Claycomb continued his strong form from the SEC Championships, where he finished in solo fourth. The senior fired a pair of three-under 69s over the final 36 holes after opening with 71.
Jonathan Griz finished T12 (-6) for the week, improving each day and concluding his week with a bogey-free 66 on Wednesday. The week marks the freshman’s second-best career finish, only behind his T6 at the Mossy Oak Collegiate earlier this season.
“I am really happy for Jonathan Griz and the way he played shooting 6-under today,” Seawell said.
“He has had some freshman growing pains this season, but he is so coachable and does things the right way. So, to see what he did for us today and help us secure the win is a real treat for him and for us.”
Rounding out the winning roster was Thomas Ponder and JP Cave, who both finished T28 (-2).
“We are looking forward to celebrating and enjoying it tonight and getting right back to work when we return home,” Seawell said.
Alabama will now prepare for the NCAA Championship, which will take place from May 26-31 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. The event will mark the Crimson Tide’s 24th NCAA Tournament appearance. Alabama has won two national championships.
The top eight teams following stroke play will advance to the match play bracket, which will decide the team national championship. The individual winner of the stroke play portion will be crowned the NCAA National Champion and will receive exemptions into The Masters and U.S. Open, should they remain an amateur.
Photo credit to UA Athletics.
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