SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Junior Lee Hodges claimed medalist honors to lead the Alabama men’s golf team to a third-place finish at the Desert Mountain Intercollegiate on Sunday. Hodges carded a 10-under par 206. The Crimson Tide had its best result in any tournament this season, closing the 54-hole tournament with a 7-under par 857 (285-290-282).
Alabama’s 6-under 282 on Sunday was three strokes better than any team’s final round total and the lowest round carded by the Crimson Tide during the 2016-17 season.
“The guys did a good job,” Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. “I am proud of how we battled and really proud of Lee and how he played. This was a big deal. He gets to add his name to a list of Alabama greats who have won tournaments for us. I am especially proud of our team and the way we responded.”
For the first time in his career, Hodges carded three consecutive sub-70 rounds on his way to winning the second tournament title of his career (also won the 2015 Shoal Creek Intercollegiate while at UAB). The Elkmont, Ala., native began the event by carding a 3-under par 69 in Saturday’s opening 18 holes and followed that with a 4-under 68 to finish the day with a career-best 36-hole score of 7-under par 137. Hodges capped the stellar weekend with another 69 on Sunday to become the Tide’s first individual medalist of the season. His 10-under par marks the best tournament mark of his career in terms of vs. par, while his 206 is second only to the 203 he carded last fall in the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate (finished third).
“It feels really good,” Hodges said. “I thought I played well, maybe as good as I have ever played to be honest. It was good to get the second win of my career, but it made it even better because of the way the team played. I definitely feel like we took a big step as a team with the way we played in this tournament and hope it gives us some momentum moving forward.”
Hodges wasn’t the only Crimson Tide golfer to perform well. Junior Jonathan Hardee collected the third top-10 finish of his career, and his first of the year, as he tied for eighth overall with a three-round total of 3-under par 213. Hardee collected three consecutive rounds of 1-under par 71 in only the second event he has played this year. He has now collected five consecutive rounds of 71 (includes final two rounds of last week’s Puerto Rico Classic).
Junior Tyler Hitchner gave Alabama three top-20 finishers, as he tied for 18th overall at 1-over par 217 (72-72-73) on the par 72, 7,107-yard Outlaw Course. Senior Dru Love carded his first sub-70 round since the 2015 NCAA Regional with a 69 on Sunday. He ended the event tied for 38th at 7-over par 223 (73-81-69). Sophomore Steven Setterstrom rounded out the Crimson Tide golfers in 58th with a 232 (76-79-77).
Tournament host and 44th–ranked Michigan won the team title with a 13-under par 851. That was two strokes ahead of No. 43 Northwestern, which carded an 11-under 853. Alabama finished three strokes better than No. 34 Kansas and No. 40 Purdue, which tied for fourth as both teams carded a 4-under par 860.
The Crimson Tide will return to action on March 19-21 when it competes at the Linger Longer Invitational, which will be held in Greensboro, Ga.