Alabama Wins NCAA Men's Golf Title

Alabama won its first NCAA Men's Golf Championship, beating Illinois by a score of 4-1 in the match-play finale on Sunday. The tournament was held on the Crabapple Course at Capital City Club in Atlanta.

Alabama was in the championship match last year but lost to Texas, so it was sweet redemption for the Crimson Tide. Alabama's golf coach, Jay Seawell, was kidded by the school's very successful football coach - Nick Saban - before this year's tournament.

"He asked, `Do you want me to come over and coach your team?' " Seawell said Sunday. "I was like, `Sure. You've got a better record in championships than I do.' "

Bobby Wyatt got the Tide off to a good start by beating Thomas Detry 6 and 5. Cory Whitsett beat Alex Burge by a 4 and 3 margin to give the Tide a 2-0 lead. Alabama's Trey Mullinax edged Charlie Danielson on the final hole, and Scott Strohmeyer rolled in a 3-footer for par to beat Brian Campbell 3-and-2 for Alabama's final point.

The only point for Illinois came from Thomas Pieters, the 2012 individual champion, who eked out a 1-up victory over Alabama's top-ranked player, Justin Thomas.

Alabama last 3-2 to Texas in 2012 and Seawell breathed a sigh of relief Sunday. "It's been a long 365 days," he said. "But that just makes it more special. It makes you appreciate it more."

Illinois coach Mike Small tipped his cap to the Crimson Tide. "Alabama had an edge to it today," he said. "We were up against a buzz saw."

Pieters echoed his coach's sentiments. "I don't think a lot of people expected us to be in the national championship," the native of Belgium said. "We thought we could do it. We worked so hard to get to this moment. It's a shame we didn't get it done today. But Alabama played really, really well."