Alabama wins second straight NCAA golf title
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — The ball kept creeping toward the hole, falling right and almost searching for the still-in-place pin.
As it took its last couple of rolls, Alabama senior Trey Mullinax let out a yell.
There would be no 18th-hole dramatics. Heck, the Crimson Tide didn’t even need the last match Wednesday at Prairie Dunes.
Mullinax’s eagle from the fringe on the par-5 17th gave the Crimson Tide its second straight national championship with a 4-1 victory over Oklahoma State.
Mullinax caught coach Jay Seawell in his arms before being mobbed by all of his teammates, except for Cory Whitsett, who celebrated in the 17th fairway while winning the anchor match.
“I was just focusing on speed and trying to get the ball as close to the hole as I could, and it went in,” Mullinax said. “It’s a dream come true. It felt good. I’m not going to lie.”
As the team took its first pictures with the trophy, Seawell said only two words: “Roll Tide!”
That has been a theme for college golf recently. After finishing second in 2012, Alabama has won two straight titles.
“Not many teams have been able to win this back to back,” Oklahoma State coach Alan Bratton said. “They’ve been on top for a while, and they deserve it.”
Seawell said he spent the morning thinking about seniors Mullinax, Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt, who each won their matches.
“I cried three times before we played today,” Seawell said. “This is their legacy. They played for their legacy, to be known as one of the great teams in all of golf history.”
About halfway through the championship matches, things were almost dead even, standing 2-2-1.
That is when everything started going Alabama’s way. Wyatt built a 2-up lead on Oklahoma State’s Talor Gooch through 15 holes and then was shocked when Gooch missed two putts inside 6 feet on No. 16 to give Wyatt a 3-and-2 victory.
Wyatt, who had a hole-in-one on No. 2, was already carrying his bag to the 17th hole when Gooch missed the second putt.
“I didn’t even know what happened,” Wyatt said.
The most impressive performance of the day came from Alabama freshman Robby Shelton. He birdied six of the last seven holes, including a winding putt on 18 for a 1-up victory over Zachary Olsen.
“I went to the national championships last year and thought it was the coolest thing in the world,” the 18-year-old Shelton said. “It’s amazing to be part of it.”
Wyndham Clark gave the Cowboys their only point in the third match, beating Tom Lovelady 3 and 1. An errant drive on 17 by Lovelady led him to concede on the green just moments before Mullinax’s heroics.
While Mullinax’s 2-and-1 victory over Ian Davis sealed the championship, Whitsett was 2-up over Jordan Niebrugge as the two stood in the 17th fairway just in case.
“I think there’s just a confidence and belief we could do this,” Whitsett said. “I think it’s just the comfort level of being there, and that showed today.”
An hour later, Seawell was still emotional.
“It was ‘One Shining Moment’ today,” he said. “I’ve never dreamed this big, to be part of something this special.”