After three rounds of stroke play, the tournament will move to three rounds of match play to determine the national champion. Only the top eight teams advance, and Alabama is fourth after firing a 4-under 274 on Wednesday on the par-70, 7,319-yard Crabapple Course at the Capital City Club.
The Crimson Tide is at 9-under 551 after 36 holes, three shots back of tournament leader and host Georgia Tech. Top-ranked California is second at 11-under 549, with defending national champion Texas in third at 10-under 550. Arkansas and Illinois are tied for fifth at 557, while Arizona State (558) is seventh and Texas A&M (560) eighth.
“We get all of these birdies early, the golf course is perfect, then on these really hard holes everyone tends to struggle a little bit,” Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. “But I was proud of how we came out this morning.”
Justin Thomas and Cory Whitsett both carded 2-under-par rounds of 68 to pace the Crimson Tide. Thomas is 5-under 135 and tied for third position with six other players. Arizona State’s Jon Rahm, who shot 61 on Tuesday, leads all individuals at 7-under 133.
“This is a championship venue,” Seawell said. “That is one of the biggest things our guys need to take from this – this is a really, really good golf course. It is so perfect, the conditions are so perfect that there are birdies, but it is still very demanding.”
Thomas played the front nine in 2 under and then birdied the par-4 10th hole to move to 3 under. He made bogey on the 14th hole and closed with four straight pars for a 2-under 68.
Whitsett also went 3 under on his round with back-to-back birdies on the 12th and 13th holes. He then made back-to-back bogeys on the 15th and 16th before a closing birdie on the 18th that moved him into a tie for 16th at 3-under 137.
Senior Scott Strohmeyer and junior Trey Mullinax both carded even-par rounds of 70 on Wednesday to count toward the Alabama team score. Junior Bobby Wyatt’s 1-over 71 was dropped in round two. Wyatt is tied for 31st at 1-under 139 while Strohmeyer is tied for 43rd at 141 and Mullinax tied for 56th at 142.
Alabama will play with Arkansas and Illinois in the third round today at the Crabapple Course. The Crimson Tide will tee off at 11:20 a.m. on the first hole.