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Shelton Is Golf’s Latest Super-Frosh

Here’s a name you’d better get used to: Robby Shelton IV.
The University of Alabama freshman quietly has risen to No. 4 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, behind Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers, reigning U.S. Amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick and Englishman Greg Eason.
Shelton is another in a long line of freshmen who have made an immediate impact on the college game; in fact, the most recent one was the player he replaced at Alabama, Justin Thomas.
In one sense, Shelton’s climb up the WAGR has not been meteoric; he was already inside the top 40 in the world before he stepped onto the Alabama campus last fall, by virtue of an outstanding junior career. Prior to enrolling at ’Bama, he was the focus of an intense recruiting effort by Alabama and Auburn; so difficult was the decision for the Alabama native that he made one of the latest college commitments in recent memory.
Shelton announced himself to the world at the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur, when at the ripe old age of 14 he beat then-wunderkind Jordan Spieth. Shelton won the final two holes of their second-round match to send the defending champion home early. He would go on to claim the No. 1 position in the AJGA Polo Junior Rankings despite playing less frequently than many of his contemporaries.
Like the Crimson Tide football team, the men’s golf team doesn’t stop to rebuild; it simply reloads. Alabama won the 2013 NCAA team championship and then said farewell to Thomas, who left early for the pro game, and senior Scott Strohmeyer, a solid contributor during its run last year. But coach Jay Seawell returned a nucleus of talented players, including seniors Cory Whitsett (No. 16 in the WAGR) and Bobby Wyatt (No. 40). Add to that mix senior Trey Mullinax, sophomore Tom Lovelady and Shelton, and you have a team that easily could repeat as champions.


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