Robby Shelton of Wilmer, the All-American golfer at the University of Alabama, has endured highs and lows the last few weeks. After picking up several individual honors, he had to watch his Crimson Tide lose its hold on the Southeastern Conference championship.
The special recognitions began when the sophomore was named one of the 10 semifinalists for the 2015 Ben Hogan Award. This marks the second season that Shelton has earned a spot in the select group.
Shelton is the only sophomore on the list. The three finalists will be named May 6, and they will attend a black-tie banquet at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 18 to learn who is the winner.
A few days later, Shelton was selected to represent the United States at the 2015 Palmer Cup. This marks the second consecutive year Shelton will compete in the event, which is set for June 12-14 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.
The Palmer Cup pits the best U.S. collegiate golfers against Europe in a Ryder Cup-style competition. The Europeans won last year’s title 18.5 to 11.5, with Shelton and former UA golfer Trey Mullinax on the American roster.
Shelton, who starred for the Crimson Tide as a freshman by leading them to the NCAA title, has not slowed down this year. Heading into the SEC tourney, he was ranked No. 7 in the nation by the Golfweek/Sagarin performance index. He led the Tide in scoring average (70.44), which included eight Top 10 finishes in nine tournaments. Included was the Southern Highlands Masters victory in March.
Alabama had won the last three SEC titles, but the string was snapped by LSU. Alabama was in first place after 36 holes, but the team carded a 10-over par 290 in the final round to finish tied for fourth.
“We were in position leading by six strokes with nine holes left to play, but the pressure seemed to get to us,” UA coach Jay Seawell said. “Hopefully, we will learn from this and get better because of it.”
Shelton again led the Tide golfers, placing third overall for a second straight year at the SEC championship. He recorded a 6-under par total of 204 (65-65-74).
Next up for Alabama are the NCAA Regionals. The six 54-hole tournaments will be May 15-17. The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams from each regional will advance to the finals May 28 to June 2 in Bradenton, Fla.
Get on your bikes and ride
The Mobile Sports Authority’s Tour de Bay bicycle event is coming to downtown Mobile on Saturday and Sunday. Included on the schedule is the 2015 USA Cycling Alabama Criterium State Championship, along with a 62-mile Century Ride.
“We are very excited to be hosting the first MSA Tour de Bay in Mobile,” said Danny Corte, executive director of the Mobile Sports Authority. “The sport of cycling has been growing at a healthy pace in the Mobile area, and we hope that by starting our own criterium and fun ride, this event will help to grow the sport even more in our area.”
Saturday’s main event is the criterium, a short-course road race that will feature a 6/10-mile closed track running through the entertainment district of downtown. Action begins at 9 a.m., with races being staged out of Bienville Square.
“This will be a unique event that showcases Mobile and the entertainment possibilities in the area,” said Stuart Lamp of USA Cycling. They are among the other sponsors, along with the City and County of Mobile, Team Share The Road, Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau, Little Red Hen Productions and Hargrove Engineers & Constructors.
Cycling will continue on Sunday at 8 a.m. with a Century Ride through Mobile County. The family-friendly ride, sponsored by Team Share The Road, will begin and end at Bienville Square. There will be three different courses, covering 8 miles, 22 miles or 62 miles.
Registration for both events can be found at www.usacycling.org/register/2015-541. For maps of the courses, visit www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/607550742 and www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/587682516. For more details, call the MSA at 251-725-1794 or Team Share The Road at 251-421-5812.
USA, USA, USA
The University of South Alabama had quite a run at the recent Sun Belt Conference tennis championships. The women continued their impressive season by taking home the team trophy, while the men lost in their finals.
After directing the Lady Jags to their first SBC title since 2003, Jaco Keyser was named the league’s Coach of the Year. The team, which has a 21-2 record, had senior Emily Newton and sophomore Laura Valkova named to the All-SBC teams in both singles and doubles. Sophomore Monica Mitta of Fairhope was also voted to the all-conference roster.
For the men’s team, USA senior Daniel Leitner was named the Sun Belt Conference’s Player of the Year for the second straight season. The German native is 26-5 overall, and has been ranked as high as 71st in the nation.
Juniors Tim Srkala and Gerhard Gruindelingh plus sophomore Tuki Jacobs earned All-SBC recognition. Srkala joined Leitner to the first team in singles. Jacobs was second team in singles, while Leitner and Gruindelingh were first team in doubles.
— Meanwhile back in Mobile, approximately 50 members of the USA Department of Athletics took part in the Jaguars Care National Day of Service. The group included Dr. Joel Erdmann, the athletics director, and several head coaches.
The volunteers worked for two hours to clean up areas on Old Shell Road between University Boulevard and Cody Road. Numerous student-athletes joined the effort that was coordinated by the school’s alumni association.