ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – The sixth-ranked Alabama men’s golf team dropped a heartbreaker on the final hole of the Southeastern Conference championship match, falling to No. 9 Auburn, 3-2, on Sunday morning at the Sea Island Golf Club on the par 70, 7,005-yard Seaside Course layout.
The teams were tied at two points apiece with the final match all square after senior Jonathan Hardee birdied the par-3 17th hole to even the score against Wells Padgett. Hardee nearly aced the hole as his tee shot rolled just past the cup. However, Padgett calmly rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to clinch the championship.
“We battled all week,” Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. “Our guys were behind against all three opponents this weekend. We did a really good job of flipping those matches the first two times and tried again today. We were in a hole and our guys dug out. Jonathan hit a shot of a lifetime on 17 to take it to 18, but give them credit. Their guy hit a great birdie putt to win.”
The Tide had a slow start, trailing in four matches at one point. However, the momentum began to shift in Alabama’s favor midway through the front nine.
Freshman Davis Shore was dominant in his match against Ryan Knop, winning 6&5 to give Alabama the first point of the day. Shore won his last two matches in three match play events and finished the championship with a 2-1 record.
Senior Lee Hodges also finished with a 2-1 mark in match play competition following a 2&1 result over Jovan Rebula. It was the second match that finished and gave the Tide a 2-0 lead with three matches remaining.
However, Auburn captured two points as Trace Crowe and Brandon Mancheno each won by a 2&1 score over senior Davis Riley and freshman Wilson Furr. It was the first loss by Riley in match play at the championship, as he finished with a 2-1 record, while Furr fell to 0-2-1 on the weekend.
The Crimson Tide will next compete in an NCAA Regional. The regional announcement is Wednesday.