Gators Roll to SEC Championship
Stegmaier, a freshman from Madison, Conn., also took individual medalist honors, shooting a 54-hole SEC Tournament record 203, seven shots under par. He finished one stroke ahead of first and second round leader Kevin Kisner of Georgia, who shot a 68 on Sunday for a three-day total of 204. Auburn's Will Claxton finished third at 210, shooting a 68 in the final round.
'This is probably my best round ever,' said Stegmaier, who's 64 is
his best 18-hole score ever. 'On top of that, every one of our guys played
a great round today and that made it more awesome.'
The Gators outlasted second place Auburn, which shot a 278 on Sunday for a final round 862. Georgia and Tennessee, which were tied for first
after two rounds, placed third and fourth respectively. The Bulldogs
tallied 289 on Sunday for a three-day total of 866 while the Vols shot a 293
in the final round for a total of 870.
South Carolina carded a 292 on Sunday and finished fifth at 875
while Alabama was sixth at 879 (final round 294). Arkansas finished
seventh at 881, shooting a final round 291, Ole Miss was eighth at 890
(final round 296), Kentucky ninth at 899 (final round 289), Vanderbilt 10th
at 902 (final round 290), Mississippi State 11th at 914 (final round 298)
and LSU 12th at 917 (final round 293).
Stegmaier, whose best finish this season was a seventh-place at the
Mercedes Benz Collegiate at Ponte Vedra, Fla., is the second straight Gator
to win the individual SEC championship. Last year, Camilo Benedetti won the
individual title, shooting a three-day score of 210 at Sea Island.
All five Gator golfers tallied par or better on Sunday. The Gators
had sub-par final round finishes from Matt Every, who shot a 68 on Sunday
for a three-day score of 218 while Camilo Villegas shot a 69 in the final
round for a 218 total. Gator teammates Jordan Code and James Vargas shot
70s in the final round and finished at 217 and 221, respectively.
Coach Buddy Alexander's Gators won their first SEC team title since
1999, giving him nine SEC titles, seven while serving as head coach of the
Gators (two at LSU).
'We had not put everything together so far this year. Coming into
this tournament, I thought we were a sleeping giant,' said Alexander. 'We
were lucky to be eight shots back going into th final round. It was an
incredible round by our guys today.'
2003 Southeastern Conference Men's Golf Championships
Sea Island Golf Club - Seaside Course - St. Simons Island, Ga.
Par 70 - 6,885 Yards
April 27, 2003
1.Florida 292 293271856 (+16)
2.Auburn291 293278862 (+22)
3.Georgia 288 289289866 (+26)
4.Tennessee 289 288293870 (+30)
5.South Carolina 298 285 292 875 (+35)
6.Alabama 293 292294879 (+39)
7.Arkansas 299 291291881 (+41)
8.Ole Miss 304 290296890 (+50)
9.Kentucky 303 307289899 (+59)
10.Vanderbilt 302 310290902 (+62)
11.Mississippi State 313 303298914 (+74)
12.Louisiana State 315 309293917 (+77)
1.Brett Stegmaier, Florida 67 7264203 (-7)
2.Kevin Kisner, Georgia676968204 (-6)
3.Will Claxton, Auburn687468210 (E)
4.Andrew Pratt, Tennessee 72 6970211 (+1)
5.Andrew Dahl, Arkansas71 7073214 (+4)
David Denham, Georgia 69 7273214 (+4)
John Humphries, LSU717469214 (+4)
8.West Streib, South Carolina766872216 (+6)
Clint Provost, Alabama 72 7371216 (+6)
10.Lee Williams, Auburn 70 7374217 (+7)
Richard Scott, Georgia727372217 (+7)
Eirik Johansen, So. Carolina 70 7374217 (+7)
Ross McGowan, Tennessee727273217 (+7)
Codie Mudd, Miss. State757270217 (+7)
Brandt Snedeker, Vanderbilt747370217 (+7)
John-Scott Rattan, Tennessee727273217 (+7)
Jordan Code, Florida 73 7470217 (+7)
Tyler McKeever, Auburn787267217 (+7)
19.Jordan Dempsey, Ole Miss766874218 (+8)
Camilo Villegas, Florida767369218 (+8)
Matt Every, Florida767468 218 (+8)
22.Lars Brovold, Alabama747273219 (+9)
Adam Wing, Arkansas757965 219 (+9)
24.Joe Deraney, Miss. State767669221 (+11)
James Vargas, Florida767570221 (+11)
Tucker Ervin, LSU807269221 (+11)
27.Alex Hamilton, So. Carolina787074222 (+12)
28.Mark Blakefield, Kentucky757473222 (+12)
29.Stuart Moore, Auburn 79 7470223 (+13)
Jay Mundy, Auburn 75 7573223 (+13)
Austin Hynson, Alabama767374223 (+13)
Lucas Boyd, Ole Miss777076223 (+13)
John Holmes, Kentucky797668223 (+13)
34.Paul Bradshaw, Arkansas806975224 (+14)
Nash Elliott, South Carolina 74 7476224 (+14)
36.Heath West, LSU797571225 (+15)
Pope Spruiell, Ole Miss757872225 (+15)
Mac Butler, Alabama 71 7678225 (+15)
39.David Skinns, Tennessee737578226 (+16)
40.Mark Donnell, Vanderbilt708275227 (+17)
Jarrod Gardner, Ole Miss767477227 (+17)
Lance Goodson, Vanderbilt807473227 (+17)
43.Brandon Waldrop, Kentucky727977228 (+18)
Martin Rominger, So. Carolina807672228 (+18)
45.Wesley Pate, Alabama797476229 (+19)
46.Matt Kohn, Kentucky778271230 (+20)
Ian Parnaby, Tennessee 75 7877230 (+20)
48.Darren Holder, Arkansas757680231 (+21)
Ryan Hybl, Georgia807576231 (+21)
50.Seth Murphy, Arkansas787678232 (+22)
Jonathan Lenz, Ole Miss788074232 (+22)
52.Ken Lewis, Vanderbilt788175234 (+24)
Craig Dunlap, Vanderbilt808272234 (+24)
Christo Greyling, Georgia 80 7579234 (+24)
55.Jay Giannetto, Miss. State827878238 (+28)
Kellen Maurer, Miss. State807781238 (+28)
Ryan Coyne, Kentucky807881239 (+29)
58.Craig Horrocks, Miss. State838286251 (+41)
59.David Aitchison, LSU868884258 (+48)
60.Aaron Smith, LSU859091266 (+56)
Stock Watch: Strange grumpy; Tiger Time again?
Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Jon Rahm (+9%): This should put his whirlwind 17 months in the proper context: Rahm (38) has earned four worldwide titles in 25 fewer starts – or a full season quicker – than Jordan Spieth (63). This kid is special.
Tommy Fleetwood (+7%): Putting on a stripe show in windy conditions, the Englishman defended his title in Abu Dhabi (thanks to a back-nine 30) and capped a 52-week period in which he won three times, contended in majors and WGCs, and soared inside the top 15 in the world.
Sergio (+3%): Some wholesale equipment changes require months of adjustments. In Garcia’s case, it didn’t even take one start, as the new Callaway staffer dusted the field by five shots in Singapore.
Rory (+2%): Sure, it was a deflating Sunday finish, as he shot his worst round of the week and got whipped by Fleetwood, but big picture he looked refreshed and built some momentum for the rest of his pre-Masters slate. That’s progress.
Ken Duke (+1%): Looking ahead to the senior circuit, Duke, 48, still needs a place to play for the next few years. Hopefully a few sponsors saw what happened in Palm Springs, because his decision to sub in for an injured Corey Pavin for the second and third rounds – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard – was as selfless as it gets.
Austin Cook (-1%): The 54-hole leader in the desert, he closed with 75 – the worst score of anyone inside the top 40. Oy.
Phil (-2%): All of that pre-tournament optimism was tempered by the reality of his first missed cut to start the new year since 2009. Now ranked 45th in the world, his position inside the top 50 – a spot he’s occupied every week since November 1993 – is now in jeopardy.
Careful What You Wish For (-3%): Today’s young players might (foolishly) wish they could have faced Woods in his prime, but they’ll at least get a sense this week of the spectacle he creates. Playing his first Tour event in a year, and following an encouraging warmup in the Bahamas, his mere presence at Torrey is sure to leave everyone else to grind in obscurity.
Curtis Strange (-5%): The two-time U.S. Open champ took exception with the chummy nature of the CareerBuilder playoff, with Rahm and Andrew Landry chatting between shots. “Are you kidding me?” Strange tweeted. “Talking at all?” The quality of golf was superb, so clearly they didn’t need to give each other the silent treatment to summon their best.
Brooks Koepka (-8%): A bummer, the 27-year-old heading to the DL just as he was starting to come into his own. The partially torn tendon in his left wrist is expected to knock him out of action until the Masters, but who knows how long it’ll take him to return to game shape.
What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:
Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.
While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.
As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.
Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.
And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.
And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.
McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.
The Ryder Cup topped his list.
Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.
When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.
“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”
McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.
Or similar assertions from TV analysts.
“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.
And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.
The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.
Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.
And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.
Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.
The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.
The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.
More bulletin board material, too.
Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.