Alabama freshman Jones Free chipped-in for birdie on the 18th hole to secure a 1up victory and the clinching point in the Crimson Tide’s 3-2 win over Ole Miss in Tuesday’s final round of SEC Match Play hosted by Jerry Pate.
With the win, Alabama finished the four matches across three days with a 3-1 record, including three consecutive victories.
“How about that?" Crimson Tide coach Jay Seawell said. "An 18-year-old Jones Free making a chip-in on No. 18 in his collegiate tournament debut. He was doing what freshman do. He would be doing great for a while and then he’d give a hole away. To his credit, he’s not scared.
"His opponent hit a great second shot and Jones needed to hit a great chip and that’s exactly what he did. That’s a credit to Jones and something we practice every day, so I am just really proud of him and the rest of our guys for finishing this event strong.”
Free squared off against Ole Miss’ Evan Brown in a back-and-forth affair that featured both golfers holding as much as a two-hole lead. The Selma, Ala., native held a 2up advantage through 13 holes before Brown won holes 14 and 15 to draw even, setting up Free’s winning shot.
Canon Claycomb and JP Cave also won their matches to earn the Tide’s three points in the victory.
Cave closed out his third straight head-to-head victory with a 3&2 win over Jackson Suber to finish the week at 3-1. Claycomb had a 3&2 victory over Brett Schell, closing the event at 2-2 overall. Jones was 2-2 over the weekend.
In the other two matches, Tyler Lipscomb fell to Kyle Meeks, 4&2, while Thomas Ponder fell to Sarut Vongchaisit
Overall, Alabama bounced back from its opening-round loss to LSU (3-1-1). It defeated Florida, 3-2, in round two and South Carolina, 4-1, in round three. Arkansas won the tournament (4-0), while Georgia and Vanderbilt also notched three wins.