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    SEC Golf Update - Friday, 3/15

    Alabama Women’s Golf Second at SunTrust Gator Invitational

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Alabama junior Stephanie Meadow finished the first round of the SunTrust Gator Women’s Invitational in a tie for first place at 2-under-par 68 on the par-70, 6,002-yard Mark Bostick Golf Course on the campus of the University of Florida.

    The No. 2 Crimson Tide is one shot back of Oklahoma in the team race. UA shot 6-over-par 286 on Friday while the fourth-ranked Sooners shot 5-over 285 with host Florida only four shots out of the lead at 9-over 289. Miami (Fla.) is fourth at 10-over 290 with Oklahoma State and Mississippi State tied for fifth at 13-over 293.

    “Stephanie is hitting a lot of fairways and a lot of greens,” Alabama head coach Mic Potter said. “Her short game is always good enough that when she makes a mistake, she can save her momentum and go birdie the next hole. She is solid and we know that, but now we have to get better scores from our fourth and fifth players.”

    Meadow, from Jordanstown, Northern Ireland, shot even par on the front side with birdies on the third and fifth holes followed by bogeys on No. 7 and No. 9. Back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th holes moved her to 2-under-par, and she finished with six straight pars to equal Virginia’s Portland Rosen for the first-round lead.

    True freshman Emma Talley also carded a top-10 round on Friday with an even-par 70 that left her in a tie for seventh place. She played the front nine in 1-over par but sandwiched a bogey at the 15th between birdies on the par-5 12th and the par-4 17th for a 70. It was Talley’s third straight round of par or better and her ninth such round this season.

    Junior Hannah Collier and sophomore Daniela Lendl were the Crimson Tide’s third and fourth counting scores in round one. Collier is tied for 20th at 3-over-par 73 while Lendl shot 5-over 75 and is tied for 32nd. Jennifer Kirby was the Tide’s drop score with a 76 and is tied for 39th.

    The Crimson Tide will play with Oklahoma and Florida again on Saturday in the second round of the SunTrust Gator Women’s Invitational.
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    MSU One Stroke Off Lead At Seminole
     
    Tallahassee, Fla., –Aided by its lowest opening-round of the season, Mississippi State finished day one of the Seminole Intercollegiate with a 10-under-par, 278 second-place card.
     
    The No. 36 ranked Bulldogs finished only one stroke behind tournament leader and host No. 17 Florida State on Friday. Last season, FSU won the Seminole Intercollegiate by one stroke over Georgia Tech.
     
    “I thought we really got some momentum going toward the end of the round,” Coach Clay Homan said. “We struggled a bit early on with the speed on the greens, because they were much quicker today. It’s a different kind of test this weekend where lots of birdies will be made, so we will have to stay aggressive.”
     
    The Bulldogs had three golfers place in the top six for the first round, the most of any school at the Seminole Intercollegiate. Juniors Axel Boasson and Joe Sakulpolphaisan tied for third, while senior Robi Calvesbert tied for sixth.  
     
    Boasson’s five birdies propelled the junior to a 4-under-par, 68. Sakulpolphaisan nailed six birdies along with an eagle on hole No. 16 to gain his 4-under-par. The opening-round 68 by the pair was the lowest first-round cards by any Bulldog on the season.
     
    Calvesbert turned in a personal season-low with his 3-under-par, 69. The 69 for senior Bulldog is the lowest round of the season for him. The sixth-place tie was thanks in part to his seven birdies on the day.
    After his 3-under-par win at Grand National, SEC Player of the Week and junior Bulldog Chad Ramey finished round one in Tallahassee with a 1-over-par, 73.The Fulton, Miss., native is currently in 34th place. Ramey has finished with at least a top-10 performance five out of his last seven tournaments.
    Rounding out the Maroon and White lineup from Tallahassee was true freshman Haraldur Magnus. The Iceland product fired off a 2-over-par, 74 to tie for the 39th spot in his first action of the spring.
     
    Sophomore Fletcher Johnson competed as an individual at the Seminole Intercollegiate, shooting a 15-over par, 87.
     
    The Bulldogs will tee off from Southwood at 9:26 a.m. with Magnus leading off alongside FSU’s Bjorn Hellgren and Coastal Carolina’s Easton Renwick.
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    Justin Thomas Leads; Alabama Golf Second at Schenkel Invitational

    STATESBORO, Ga. – Justin Thomas fired an opening-round 67 to take the individual lead and propel the second-ranked Alabama men's golf team into second place with a 6-under-par round of 282 on Friday at the Schenkel Invitational on the par-72, 6,952-yard Forest Heights Country Club.

    Texas shot 8-under-par 280 to take the first-round by two shots over the Crimson Tide. Florida is in third place at 3-under-par 285 with Central Florida fourth at 3-over 291. UAB (+4, 292) and Vanderbilt (+4, 292) are tied for fifth.

    Thomas, of Goshen, Ky., finished with a 1-shot lead after a closing birdie on the 564-yard, par-5 18th hole. He got off to a blazing starter with four birdies in his opening-six holes and made the turn at 4-under 32. Thomas then birdied the 12th only to turn around and make his only bogey of the day on No. 13 for a 5-under-par total.

    There are four players one shot back of Thomas at 4-under-par 68. The group includes a pair of Longhorns, Kramer Hickok and Brandon Stone along with Vanderbilt’s Charlie Ewing and UCF’s Jose Joia.

    Alabama’s first round got a big boost over the final three holes from junior Cory Whistett and Bobby Wyatt. The pair birdied both the 16th and 18th holes to finish at 2-under-par 70 in a tie for sixth place.

    Redshirt freshman Tom Lovelady was the Tide’s final counter toward the team score with a 3-over-par 75. He is tied for 45th. Scott Strohmeyer is tied for 73rd after carding a 6-over 78. Lee Knox played as an individual and shot 74 to tie for 30th after the first round.  

    Alabama will be paired with Texas and Florida in the second round. The Tide’s Scott Strohmeyer will get things started for UA with a 9:30 a.m. tee time off the first tee.
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    McDonald, Oubre’ Help Lady Bulldogs Clip Three Top 25 Teams In Round One
     
    Gainesville, Fla. – Battling one of the nation’s strongest fields, the Mississippi State women’s golf team tied a season-best with a 13-over-par 293 in the first round of the SunTrust Gator Invitational to earn a share of fifth-place, beating three Top 25 teams.
     
    The Lady Bulldogs’ 293 ties their season-best set just last weekend in the final round of the JMU/Eagle Landing Invitational and is the program’s third-lowest opening round in its history.
     
    “I was so pleased with our team today,” MSU coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. “We focused in every event on our routine and our job on the course.  We disregarded who was in the field, got our job taken care of and let the chips fall where they may. Today was a great example of believing in and practicing that ideology.”
     
    MSU finished the opening round ahead of No. 49 Florida State (294), No. 18 Baylor (293), No. 15 Virginia (297) and No. 6 North Carolina (301). State is tied with No. 21 Oklahoma State and is only eight strokes back of tournament-leader No. 4 Oklahoma (285). No. 3 Alabama (286) and No. 5 Florida (289) round out the Top 3.
     
    “Anytime you can open with a 293 on this course and beat teams like North Carolina, Virginia, Baylor, it just shows we are sticking to our plan,” Brown-Lemm added.
     
    Sophomore Ally McDonald and freshman Gabi Oubre’ each notched 1-over 71’s and are tied for 10th. McDonald entered the event fresh off a runner-up finish last weekend and is on pace for her fifth Top 5 card in seven events this year.
     
    Oubre’, still in search of her first-career Top 25, set a new career-best and tied the sixth-lowest opening round by a freshman in MSU history.
     
    Warren turned in a season-best 3-over-par 73 to earn a share of 20th-place. The sophomore narrowly missed her first-career Top 25 card just two tournaments ago as she tied for 26th in the Westbrook Invitational to begin the spring.
     
    Mary Langdon Gallagher and Rica Tse rounded out the Lady Bulldogs’ leaderboard with a 78 and 81, respectively.
     
    Sixth-ranked Stephanie Meadow of Alabama and Portland Rosen of Virginia each turned in 2-under-par 68’s to take control of the individual race after 18 holes.
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