Robby Shelton has put together one of the most impressive collegiate golfing careers in the history of the University of Alabama. The Wilmer native will now try to reproduce those achievements in the play-for-pay ranks.
Earlier this month, Shelton turned pro and accepted a sponsor invitation to play in the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship in Opelika July 13-17.
“I am excited about playing in the Barbasol Championship again this year,” Shelton said, “and having it among my first PGA Tour events as a professional.”
Shelton completed his junior year in Tuscaloosa being named first-team all-Southeastern Conference for the third straight year. He was also selected to the PING All-America squad each season.
Shelton has been selected as a semifinalist for both the Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus awards as the nation’s top collegiate golfer. He claimed three individual titles last season, giving a program record of seven medalist honors. Shelton finished among the Top 20 players in eight of nine tourneys this year. In 34 career tournaments, he has 17 Top 5 finishes and 31 in the Top 20.
The 2014 SEC Player of the Year announced he was giving up his senior year of eligibility after tying for sixth place at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships. Shelton, who was rated the top prep golfer in the nation while at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Mobile, leaves the Crimson Tide with career records in stroke average (70.44) and average versus par (-0.72).
Shelton will join four Master champions, two U.S. Open winners, a PGA Championship titlest and other golfers in the field of 132 players for the Barbasol Championship. The event will be on the Lake Course at the Grand National site of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.
“Thanks to Barbasol and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail for inviting me back,” said Shelton, who tied for third place last year as an amateur. “I look forward to a great week of exciting golf.”
Rams’ coach to help national team
Joe Niland, head coach at the University of Mobile, has been picked as a court coach for the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s Under-18 National Team training camp. The drills take place June 14-18 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“It is a great honor to serve as a court coach for the selection of the USA U18 National Team,” said Niland, who is the all-time wins leader for the Rams (316-223 in 17 seasons) and second in wins at Spring Hill (127-60). “The opportunity to work with some of our country’s finest coaches and youngest players in an incredible opportunity.”
A committee chaired by Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim selected the court coaches. The training camp will trim 26 athletes to the final 12-member national team which will compete in the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Chile from July 19-23.
BayBears heading to All-Star Game
Five members of the Mobile BayBears have been selected to play in the Southern League All-Star Game to be held Tuesday, June 21, at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Mississippi.
Representing the local minor league squad will be pitchers Anthony Banda, Daniel Gibson and Joey Krehbiel, along with outfielder Mitch Haniger and infielder Kevin Medrano.
Banda, who was recently named the Southern League’s Pitcher of the Week, was 4-2 with a 2.57 earned run average in 11 starts. Gibson has an impressive 0.42 ERA as a reliever. Krehbiel has allowed just 12 hits in 26.2 innings out of the bullpen. Haniger has a .342 batting average and leads the BayBears with 30 runs batted in. Medrano’s .320 batting average leads all Southern League third basemen.
After the All-Star break, the BayBears will host Birmingham for five games, June 23-27.
Sports camps coming up
• Boys and girls ages 5 to 13 are invited to attend the 4th annual GoDaddy Bowl’s youth football clinic. The free half-day camp will be June 18 from 8 a.m. to noon at Mobile Christian School. Participants can work out with and meet University of South Alabama football coaches and athletes. Campers will run offensive, defensive and agility drills; learn proper techniques to promote on-field football safety; and learn about the importance of character development and good sportsmanship. Participants must register online at www.GoDaddyBowl.com.
• Spring Hill College will hold its youth basketball camps at the Arthur Outlaw Recreation Center. Individual camps for boys and girls will be June 20-23 for ages 7-12 (8 a.m. to noon) and ages 13-18 (1 to 5 p.m.). Elite camp will be June 25 for boys entering grades nine to 12 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). For more information call assistant coach Brian Murphy at 251-380-4454.
• Spring Hill catcher Alex Jones has wrapped up numerous honors. He has been named the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s Baseball Player of the Year, a second-team member of the All-South Region Team and a first-team Academic All-American. The senior from Pensacola had a .452 batting average and a school-record 66 runs batted in along with 13 home runs. A business management major, Jones holds a 3.65 GPA. Badgers on the second-team SIAC roster were first baseman Willie Floros, third baseman Matthew Spradin and right fielder Michael Druhan.
• Ten UM baseball players were honored by the Southern States Athletic Conference. Garrett Waters, a junior pitcher from Theodore, made the first-team after compiling a 10-4 record and 2.47 earned run average. On the second-team were senior pitcher Josh Shelley of Mobile, senior outfielder Travis Tessandori and junior first baseman Chris Hopballe. Logan Palmer was on the All-Freshman unit while Norberto Torres was on the Gold Glove team. The Rams also won the Sportsmanship Award.
• The USA women’s tennis team and freshman Alexandria Stiteler are both listed in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings. The Jaguars are No. 53 in team rankings, while Stiteler is No. 102 in singles. USA went 21-6, while Stiteler advanced to the NCAA Tournament.