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Alabama shoots 1-Under par 287 in opening round of NCAA Men’s Golf Championships

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SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – Junior Jonathan Hardee carded a 3-under par 69 to lead the Alabama men’s golf team in the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Golf National Championships on Friday morning. As a team, the Crimson Tide finished Friday’s play with a total of 1-under par 287.

“I am very proud of our guys and the way we played today,” Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. “We really got off to a great start over our first five or six holes and got ourselves right into the flow of this year’s national championship. We did a great job to shoot under par today on a championship venue. I am pleased with how we played. I love how this golf course has changed in the 10 years since I was last here. It’s in great shape, it’s a great test and it rewards great shots. If you don’t hit good shots, then you’re going to have some high-scoring holes. Those are the things we have to straighten out a little bit. We need to execute just a little bit better tomorrow, but we have the right attitudes to do just that and I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the second round.”

The morning round was played under partly sunny skies and slightly gusty winds, however, heavy rains came in the afternoon, delaying the championship for more than two hours. As a result, the 15 teams that teed off in the afternoon did not complete play and will be forced to finish their first round Saturday morning.

Of the 15 teams to complete the entire first round of play, Alabama was one of only three to finish under par. In addition to the Tide, Auburn, who is the leaders in the clubhouse, carded a 6-under 282, while Ole Miss is in a tie with Alabama at 1-under 287.

Hardee will look to carry his momentum from the first round of play into Saturday’s second round. Starting on the 10th hole, Hardee began his day with an eagle on the 575-yard par 5 11th hole, followed by a birdie on the 380-yard par 4 14th hole to move to 3-under after five holes played. From there, the Greer, S.C., native recorded nine straight pars before a birdie on his 15th hole of the day – the par 4 376-yard sixth hole – moved him to 4-under par for the day. Hardee’s lone mistake came with a bogey on his second-to-last hole to result in his final score of 69.

“The course played well from the fairways, but was challenging in the rough,” Hardee said. “I putted well today and that was huge for me. I hit the ball pretty average but was able to roll some key putts in and keep my momentum going.”

Junior Lee Hodges also had a solid round, ending with a 2-under par 70. Hodges finished the day with a team-leading five birdies, but also collected three bogeys over the 18 holes. He has now shot under par in 20 of the last 25 rounds he has played.

Sophomore Davis Riley carded a 1-over par 73 after recording four birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey on the par 72, 7,300-yard Rich Harvest Farms course. Redshirt freshman Josh Sedeno went 2-under par through his front nine holes, but five bogeys over his last nine holes resulted in a 3-over par 75. Junior Steven Setterstrom rounded out the Tide with a 6-over 78.

The Crimson Tide, which entered the event as a No. 23 seed, will begin Saturday’s second round off Hole No. 1 at 1:30 p.m. CT. Live stats can be found throughout the national championships on Golfstat.com.

The NCAA Championships will have three rounds of stroke play for the 30-team field, with a cut to 15 teams after 54 holes. Those 15 teams will be whittled down to eight teams after a fourth round of stroke play. The eight teams will then begin three rounds of match play for the national title (1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5), which is slated to be held on May 30-31.

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