“Is Alabama really that good?” he asked.
All his father -- and everyone who heard his inquiry, mostly Alabama fans -- could do was laugh. That question won’t be answered completely until after the championship round Sunday, but through two days of match play, the answer seems to be yes.
Third-seeded Alabama again dominated its opponent in the semifinals of the NCAA men’s golf tournament, defeating No. 2-seeded Georgia Tech 3-0-2 at Crabapple Courseat the Capital City Club.
With the win, the Crimson Tide advanced to the championship match for the second straight year. Alabama, which lost to Texas last year, will face No. 5-seeded Illinois, which knocked off top-seeded California in extra holes. The match is set for 7 a.m. Sunday.
“I’m pretty overwhelmed,” Alabama coach Jay Seawell said. “It has been 365 days of answering questions and thinking about last year and to do it again, it’s really hard to do. I’m really proud of our guys. Georgia Tech is a great team and they fought their tails off. It was a match that was never secure, you could feel that the last hole was going to be tough to get. I’m very thankful and excited for the opportunity.”
The victory started with junior Trey Mullinax who gave the Tide its first point with a 4 and 3 win over Georgia Tech’s Shun Yat Hak.
Mullinax, in just the second match play event of his career, struggled out of the gates. He was 2 down coming to the eighth tee box, but stormed back, winning six of the next seven holes to close Yat Hak out with par on the 15th.
Seawell said the players rallied around Mullinax following Friday’s competition.
“It’s awesome, a great feeling to have,” Mullinax said. “I know my teammates have confidence in me. They knew (Friday) was my first match-play event. They were giving me all the confidence in the world even though I played bad (Friday). They have faith in me just like I have faith in them. We never quit.”
Junior Cory Whitsett closed out his match with Tech’s Ollie Schniederjans on the 16th hole, 3 and 2. It was the second win in as many days for Whitsett, who has 11 birdies and no bogeys in 30 holes of match play over the first two rounds.
Sophomore Justin Thomas clinched his match with a par on the 17th for a 3 and 1 win over the Yellow Jackets’ Seth Reeves.
Junior Bobby Wyatt was all square with Anders Albertson in the first match of the day in extra holes when Thomas finished off the win. Senior Scott Strohmeyer was all square with Bo Andrews on the green at No. 18.
While Alabama doesn’t dwell what could have happened in last year’s championship versus Texas, the Tide are still using the experience to their advantage.
“We just know to not let our emotions get the best of us and to kind of stay in the moment,” Thomas said. “We’re just going to take it one shot at a time and hopefully it will work out for his.”
NCAA.com will webcast the final match beginning at 10:15 a.m.