OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Alabama freshman Thomas Ponder carded a 4-under par 66 on Sunday to lead the No. 21 Crimson Tide men’s golf team in the final day of the Olympia Fields Country Club/Fighting Illini Invitational. Behind Ponder’s performance, the Tide shot a score of 284 – 10 shots better than each of its previous two rounds – to climb into a 10th-place finish with overall team total of 872 (294-294-284).
The tournament title was shared by No. 3 Georgia Tech and No. 20 Baylor, after both teams finished the event with identical scores of 6-over par 846. Tenth-ranked Pepperdine (849), No. 23 North Carolina (856), No. 14 Texas A&M (859) and No. 19 Illinois (859) round out the top five teams, respectively. In all, 11 of the 15 teams in the field were ranked among the top-25 in the nation by the Golf Coaches Association of America.
In his first tournament action as a Tide starter since being sidelined last February with an injury, sophomore Davis Shore led UA on the weekend. The Knoxville, Tenn., native carded three consecutive rounds of 1-over par 71 and finished the event tied for 14th overall with a 143 (71-71-71). It marked the seventh top-20 finish of his career
Ponder’s final round 66 vaulted him into a 30th-place tie at 7-over par 217 (76-75-66). It marked the lowest round shot this fall by any UA player.
Sophomore Frankie Capan III tied for 47th overall with a 10-over 220 (70-75-75) on the famed par 70, 7,219-yard famed Olympia Fields Country Club North Course.
Junior Wilson Furr tied for 64th overall after carding a 225 (80-73-72) over the three-day event, while sophomore Prescott Butler rounded out the UA starting five with a 233 (77-77-79) to place in 80th overall.
Freshman Simms Abney, who competed as an individual this weekend, tied for 64th with a 225 (78-76-71).
Ponder’s round of 66 was the lowest 18-hole total by any player in the entire field. The Dothan, Ala., native collected seven birdies and three bogeys during his round. In fact, Ponder finished with 12 birdies over the tournament’s weekend which was tied tops in the field.
Next, Alabama hosts the annual Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate Oct. 7-8.