Nick Dunlap leads Alabama to Linger Longer Invitational title
Photo courtesy of Alabama Athletic Communications
Photo courtesy of Alabama Athletic Communications

Coaches often use late-season tournaments to check the pulse of their teams heading into the championship season where the stakes will be high and the pressure intense.

After Alabama rolled to an eight-stroke win at the Linger Longer Invitational, head coach Jay Seawell had to like what he saw from his Crimson Tide over the last three days at the Great Waters Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee.

At 14-under par, the 19th-ranked Crimson Tide finished eight strokes clear of No. 7 Georgia Tech (-6) and left top-ranked Vanderbilt (E) in its dust, as the Commodores saw its impressive run of four straight tournaments come to an end.

The Southeastern Conference is awash with young talent and for three days at Reynolds Lake Oconee, Nick Dunlap flashed the form that earned the Alabama freshman 2021 AJGA Player of the Year honors.

Dunlap, who won the 2021 Junior Amateur Championship at The Country Club of North Carolina, claimed the first individual title of his collegiate career after turning in rounds of 70-66-70 to finish at 10-under 206 which was good for a two-stroke victory over Georgia Tech's Christo Lamprecht and Vanderbilt's William Moll, who was playing as an individual.

Nick Dunlap
After a brilliant second round 6-under 66, Dunlap took a one-stroke lead into the final round over Georgia's Connor Creasy and eased home with a 2-under 70.

"It's a great feeling," said Dunlap, who has four top-10 finishes in his eight collegiate tournaments to date. "Coming off our performance at Cabo we viewed this tournament as a bounce back. It feels good to win my first tournament, but to do it and help the team to a victory makes it even sweeter. It was a great team win today."

"I thought Nick played incredibly all week," said Seawell. "You could see this coming. He's healthy, his confidence continues to grow and you could tell he was getting his mojo back."

Vanderbilt's Gordon Sargent, last year's NCAA individual champion, finished tied for fourth with Chattanooga's Garrett Engle.

Though the Commodores' four-tournament winning streak that began with a victory at the East Lake Cup in October and included triumphs at the John Hayt Invitational, Watersound Invitational and Cabo Collegiate, respectively, came to an end, Vandy head coach Scott Limbaugh has no reason to lose sleep over his team's third-place finish.

“It really felt like the first two days we never had a ton of momentum, but managed to hang in there and finish. However, today we struggled to keep any momentum we had early because we didn’t do the little things at a high enough level,” Limbaugh said. “Success and winning can make you think it’s always going to be easy and you can kind of cut corners. We cannot allow other factors to control our identity.

“I am proud of how we fought until the end each day and nobody gave in. I’m super proud of William (Moll) and how he chose to see an opportunity this week. He was excited to play and it certainly showed.”

Alabama and Vanderbilt Athletic Communications contributed to this report.

Results: Linger Longer Invitational
1ALNick DunlapHuntsville, AL60070-66-70=206
T2South AfricaChristo LamprechtSouth Africa40073-68-67=208
T2TXWilliam MollHouston, TX40072-66-70=208
T4PAGarrett EngleHarrisburg, PA30070-71-70=211
T4ALGordon SargentMountain Brook, AL30069-71-71=211

View full results for Linger Longer Invitational

ABOUT THE Linger Longer Invitational

54-hole men's college tournament co-hosted by Mercer University and Kennesaw State University. Team (best four scores of five players each round and individual competitions.

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