Written by Ashley Jeffords
March 24, 2014
In a week that was filled with college sports excitement via March Madness, the number five ranked UGA men’s golf team assembled their own thrilling display on the golf course at the 2014 Linger Longer Invitational defeating number one ranked Alabama by ten strokes with a score of 837. Georgia pulled away from Alabama on Sunday after the two were tied for the lead at the end of play on Saturday. Prior to the tournament, Alabama had held the title for three years running.
On Sunday, players faced challenging hole locations that got the best of several players. The Bulldogs would not waiver, however, posting a 7 under on their final round of play. Defending champs, Alabama were the only team closer with a Sunday score of 3 over par.
“Georgia was definitely focused on Sunday,” said Jose Lopez, head golf professional at the Great Waters golf course. “They came ready to play and put up some solid scores.”
Georgia would finish at 27 under par after their stellar Sunday performance giving them a ten stroke lead and their first 2014 Invitational title since 2009. Georgia outlasted six teams ranked in the top 50. No. 1 Alabama, No. 15 Oklahoma and No. 26 Clemson finished second, third and fourth. No. 33 Mercer and No. 41 Liberty tied for fifth at 10 over.
Georgia senior Michael Cromie took home the individual honors with a 9 under par for the tournament. Cromie battled Alabama freshman Robby Shelton through 54 holes of play and the two finished tied for first place at 9 under. Cromie would go on to defeat Shelton in a one-hole playoff on the 18th hole of Great Waters.
The Georgia senior finished regulation play with a birdie at the par-5, 540-yard 18th hole to force the playoff. On the playoff hole, Cromie’s approach landed just off the green. He chipped to within 5 feet for an easy birdie, securing his win over the talented freshman from Alabama.
The win was the first for Georgia this spring. The team’s previous best performances came with a third-place finish at the Puerto Rico Classic and a sixth-place showing at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters.
Co-hosted by Kennesaw State University and Mercer University, the Linger Longer Invitational has been an annual showcase for college golf teams from coast to coast since 2006. Since its inception, the Invitational has been played at three of the six courses at Reynolds Lake Oconee – The Oconee, Landing and Great Waters. For full results from the 2014 Linger Longer Invitational at Great Waters click here.
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