The second-ranked Alabama men's golf team battled through 30 mph winds on the challenging Seaside Course at the Sea Island Golf Club on Sunday to hold off South Carolina for the program's fourth SEC Championship and second straight.
The Crimson Tide began the day three shots back of the Gamecocks and the two teams went back and forth throughout the round. The Tide sealed the win with a 10-over-par round of 290 to finish at 8-over 848 for the tournament. USC shot 295 on Sunday and 850 for the 54-hole event. Auburn was third at 20-over 860 with Texas A&M (864) fourth and Mississippi State (866) in fifth place.
"I am really proud of the guys," Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. "They faced 30 mph winds all day – I've never seen anything like it, especially in a championship. They battled hard, never gave in and I am proud of all five of them. They never got discouraged, even when it looked a little bleak. In the end, we did just enough to win and that is an awesome feeling."
Alabama's break came when South Carolina's Caleb Sturegon, who was leading the tournament at the time, took triple bogey on the par-4 16th hole to break a tie atop the leader board. In the same group, UA's Cory Whitsett made birdie on the 16th for a four-shot swing that gave the Tide a lead they would not relinquish.
Whitsett closed with a bogey on the 18th but still secured the Tide's fourth SEC title and second straight. He finished tied for third individually at 1-under 209. Arkansas' Sebastian Cappelen won medalist honors at 8-under 202.
Trey Mullinax joined Whitsett with a 73 on Sunday to post a top-10 finish in ninth place at 3-over 213. Bobby Wyatt carded a 4-over 74 and tied for 10th at 4-over 214.
Justin Thomas fired Alabama's lowest round of the day with an even-par 70 to tie for 12th place at 5-over 215. Scott Strohmeyer's 75 on Sunday was dropped from the UA team score. He carded a 10-over 220 total to tie for 27th.
Alabama will now await word on which of six regional sites they will be headed to as they attempt to qualify for the 2013 NCAA Championships at the Capital City Club in Atlanta in May.