ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- Seeking its fourth straight league title, the Alabama men's golf team retained its lead after the second round of the Southeastern Conference Championship on Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course on Saturday.
The Crimson Tide fired a 6-under-par 274 to move to 17-under 543. Alabama leads LSU (14-under 546) by three strokes after the Tigers notched the day's low round of 8-under 272. Vanderbilt and South Carolina are tied for third at 10-under 550 and Auburn is fifth at 9-under 551.
"I was really proud of the day," Alabama coach Jay Seawell said. "Even though there were no scoreboards on the course, the guys had a good feel for what was going on. LSU got off to an incredible start and went low and probably passed us. But I loved the way our guys played the back nine and just stayed the course. They've done a really good job each day with the pressure ratcheting up. They've done a good job of competing."
Asked what it will take on Sunday to hoist the trophy again, Seawell said, "We had better play some good golf. No, make that some great golf. We had better play great because this league has some of the best teams in the country."
South Carolina's Matthew NeSmith has sole possession of first individually at 11-under 129, including his second-round 6-under 64. NeSmith has a 1-shot lead over Alabama's Robby Shelton (10-under 130) and a 2-stroke edge on Arkansas' Kolton Crawford (9-under 131). Auburn's Ben Schlottman is fourth at 8-under 132, while Vanderbilt's Theo Humphrey, Auburn's Ryan Benton and LSU's Brandon Pierce are tied for fifth at 5-under 135.
NeSmith finds himself bogey free through 36 holes.
"Every time I've missed a shot, it's been in the correct spot," NeSmith said. "I've given myself a good chance to get up and down if I missed greens, and my lag putting has been pretty good if I didn't hit it on the correct part of the green. ... I played really well. I played a lot like (Friday). I made a lot of putts and hit a lot of good tee shots. When I missed it, I missed it in the correct spots, so it was really easy to score pretty well when I didn't hit it in the perfect spots."
Shelton paced Alabama at 5-under 65, while Tom Lovelady posted a 1-under 69, and Jonathan Hardee and Robby Prater each signed for an even-par 70.
LSU, which posted a program-best runner-up finish a year ago, was led Saturday by Zach Wright's 4-under 66, followed by Pierce and Stewart Jolly both at 2-under 68. Pierce is fifth individually and Jolly and Wright are tied for eighth.
"The key to our day was consistency -- and that's been the story of our spring," LSU coach Chuck Winstead said. "When you have five guys all kind of in it and playing well, it gives you a good chance. ... We know we can't do anything about the other teams that are here. There are a bunch of very good teams and very good golfers. All we can do is play our game and see how it stacks up."
The final round of the SEC Championship will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday. Three-hole scoring and tee times can be found at SECSports.com and GolfStat.com.