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The nation's best going toe-to-toe in Statesboro
031613 SCHENKEL 04
Texas golfer Cody Gribble chips onto the green at nine during second round of the Schenkel Invitational golf tournament Saturday at Forest Heights Country Club. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Round 1 Team Results
Team              R1    R2    Total    Par
1. Alabama     282     281     563    -13
2. Texas         280     285     565     -11
3. Florida        285     296     581     +5
4. Maryland     296     288     584     +8
T5. UCF         291     294     585     +9
T5. N. Florida  294     291     585     +9
7. Vanderbilt     292     295     587     +11
T8. UNT         296     294     590     +14
T8. Mississippi    301     289     590     +14
10. Kentucky     294     298     592     +16
11. GSU           297     296     593     +17
12. UAB          292     303     595     +19
13. Virginia     301     295     596     +20
14. C of C       297     301     598     +22
15. UND         297     307     604     +28

    The NCAA golf regionals won’t take place for another two months, but the Schenkel Invitational will have a postseason feel as the final round unfolds today.
    The Texas Longhorns recorded a dramatic win over the Alabama Crimson Tide to capture last season’s Division I national championship and the two sit atop the leaderboard and well clear of the rest of the field going into the final 18 holes of competition.
    “It’s always great to have quality teams in the field and to be able to play at a great course like the Schenkel,” Alabama coach Jay Seawell said. “We’ve been paired up with Texas a few times already this season. I think it’s good for us to have to push ourselves like that all through the season.”
    Alabama may have finished second to the Longhorns at the NCAA’s, but the Tide showed on Saturday exactly why it is the defending champion of the Schenkel. Alabama began the day two strokes behind Texas, but fired a 7-under 281 to take control of the competition.
    “We didn’t finish as strong as we wanted to,” Seawell said. “We gave a few strokes back late in the day, but we definitely played well overall.”
    The Longhorns’ day was a mirror image of Alabama’s.
    Texas began the day at 8-under par, but slipped to as low as 2-under early on. Alabama built a lead that reached as many as nine strokes, but as Alabama faded a bit at the end, the Longhorns charged hard over the final hour of play.
    “It can be tough watching that leaderboard,” Texas coach John Fields said. “You want to think that if Alabama can post those numbers, any other team can. But Alabama can make some shots that most others just can’t.”
    With Florida sitting in third place at 5-over par — 18 strokes in back of Alabama and 16 behind Texas — it looks like a two horse race coming down the stretch in today’s final round.
    Both teams are also in contention to field the individual medalist for the tournament. Alabama’s Justin Thomas is 7-under through two rounds and holds a comfortable three-stroke lead over teammate Bobby Wyatt, but Texas’ Cody Gribble and Brandon Stone — both sitting at 3-under — are still in the hunt.
    The Crimson Tide and Longhorns will be paired together in today’s final round, giving two of the best teams in the nation the chance to go head to head for the title.
    “It’s definitely going to be exciting,” Fields said. “We’ve got a great course with great weather and some really good teams in the mix. You can’t ask for more than that.”

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.