Men’s golf team to begin season with Puerto Rico Classic

The Alabama men’s golf team will tee off its season this weekend in the Puerto Rico Classic in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. The Crimson Tide has an opportunity to play in different tournaments and different venues all across the country this season.

“We are very fortunate that each and every week we’re playing at a great golf course, great venue,” junior Bobby Wyatt said.

One of the tournaments some of the Tide players are looking forward to the most is the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters in Las Vegas, Nev., from March 8 to 10.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to Vegas,” junior Corey Whitsett said. “It’s such a challenging golf course. The greens are really firm and fast. It’s the closest thing to national championship course we’ll play in the spring, so it will be a great test to see where we are.”

(See also “Men’s golf ties for 9th at PING/Golfweek Preview“)

Last year was the Tide’s first time at this event in Vegas, where it finished tied for 9th in the team championship. Wyatt finished tied for 5th in the individual championship as Whitsett finished tied for 11th and Thomas finished tied for 15th.

Alabama will face the best completion the nation has to offer, which includes last year’s national champion the University of Texas, the UCLA Bruins, California at Berkley and last year’s tournament champion the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The Tide will play in three more tournaments before the SEC Championship, the NCAA Regionals and the National Championship. The three tournaments are the Schenkel Invitational in Statesboro, Ga., the Linger Longer Invitational in Greensboro, Ga., and the Aggie Invitational in Bryan, Texas.

The SEC Championship will be held April 19 to 21 at the Seaside Golf Course in Sea Island, Ga.

“The SEC’s are really important to all of us,” sophomore Justin Thomas said.

The national championships will be played on the Crabapple Course at the Capital City Club in Atlanta, Ga., May 28 through June 2. The Tide is really looking to get back to the national championships after coming up short on the very last hole of last season’s national championship match against Texas.

“I’m looking forward to Atlanta, the National Championship,” Wyatt said. “It’s a great golf course; really the situation is really what makes you want to get back there.”

Alabama will have a tough road ahead of them this season, but Head Coach Jay Seawell said tough competition and a tough schedule is the best way to help the Tide get ready for a possible national title shot.

“The 2012-2013 schedule should be a challenging test for our golf team,” Seawell said. “We have the opportunity to go to some of the nation’s top courses and play against the best competition in collegiate golf. This schedule is an excellent way to prepare us for the SEC and NCAA championships.”

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