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VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. — The Alabama men’s golf team surged four spots up the leaderboard during the final day of stroke play at SEC Match Play hosted by Jerry Pate, carding a season best single round team score of 11-under par 269 Monday which marked the seventh-best 18-hole score in program history. As a result, the Crimson Tide finished in fifth overall with a team score of 20-under par 820 (274-277-269), which ranks as the sixth-lowest tournament total in the school record books.

The unique three-day tournament, which is being contested at the par 70, 7,204-yard Old Overton Club course, now moves into a match play format which will take place Tuesday. Alabama will take on Georgia in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup, which tees off at 10 a.m. off Hole No. 1. Stroke play champion and No. 1-ranked Vanderbilt will take on Tennessee for the outright tournament title, which tees off at 11:15 a.m.

Freshman Nick Dunlap led the way for the Tide as he finished with back-to-back rounds of 4-under par 66 after opening with a 69 Sunday morning. He finished stroke play tied for seventh overall with a 9-under par 201 (69-66-66). His tournament total ranks in a tie for the 10th-lowest tournament score in program history.

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Thomas Ponder matched Dunlap with a 66 Monday as he finished tied for 17th overall at 5-under par 205 (68-71-66). Canon Claycomb gave Alabama three finishers among the top 25 as he tied for 21st place after shooting a 4-under 206 (67-69-70). JP Cave fired a 3-under 67 Monday and finished in 31st with a 2-under 208 (70-71-67), which matched his career low tournament score.

In addition, other match play contests pit No. 13 Arkansas vs. No. 14 Kentucky (7:30 a.m. CT), No. 11 LSU vs. No. 12 Missouri (8:08 a.m.), No. 9 Ole Miss vs. No. 10 South Carolina (8:45 a.m.), No. 7 Mississippi State vs. No. 8 Florida (9:23 a.m.) and No. 3 Auburn vs. No. 4 Texas A&M (10:38 a.m.).

THE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Alabama began the third round at a blistering pace, combining for a team score of 10-under par (12 birdies and one double bogey) before making the turn
    • Cave highlighted the front nine by collecting four birdies across his last six holes of the front nine, including three consecutive on holes 4, 5 and 6
  • As a team, the Tide’s 63 birdies across the 54 holes of stroke play ranked third-best in the field
  • Dunlap recorded the second top-10 finish of his season and third top-20 result across the three tournaments he has played at Alabama
    • Over his last five rounds, Dunlap is averaging 67.6 strokes and has four rounds in the 60s
    • He has now shot in the 60s in six of his nine rounds played this season, while seven of the nine have been under par
    • He led the team on par 5 scoring (-3, 4.50) and in total birdies (16)
  • Ponder collected his third top-20 finish in three tournaments this season with his 18th-place result
    • His second round 66 tied for the second-best 18-hole score in his career and he now has 14 career top-20 results
  • Claycomb had another solid tournament and is now a combined 16-under par across nine rounds on the year (-1.78 average vs. par)
  • JP Cave made his season debut and finished with a career-best tying 54-hole total of 208 as he tied for 31st overall
    • His final round 67 was the second-best 18-hole score in his collegiate career
  • Lipscomb rounded out the Crimson Tide golfers as he tied for 61st at 7-over 217 (71-71-75)

THE FIELD

  • Top-ranked Vanderbilt finished on top in stroke play at 39-under par 801, followed by Tennessee with a 35-under 805
    • The Commodores and Vols will square off in Tuesday’s final match play pairing to determine the tournament champion
  • The SEC Match Play event replaced the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, which was hosted by the Tide for 35 years (1986-2020)
  • The event is named after Jerry Pate – one of the most successful professional golfers to have worn the crimson and white
    • Plays an active role each year in the event, including presenting the tournament trophy
    • 1974 United States Amateur champion – only weeks before he started his senior season at UA
    • Won the 1976 U.S. Open as a rookie on the tour
    • Named the 1976 PGA Rookie of the Year and Co-Player of the Year
    • Went on to win eight PGA Tournaments