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THURSDAY, MAY 19, 2005
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This Tide Todd finds niche on the golf course

TUSCALOOSA (AP) — "Gator" Todd is the son of a former Alabama quarterback, but oftentimes people are more curious about his name than his family connection.

Richard Todd Jr. got his nickname from an aunt when he was 2 months old, and it stuck. He's trying to make his own name at his father's alma mater, but in golf not football.

Richard Todd played quarterback for the Crimson Tide from 1973-75 and was a first-round draft pick by the New York Jets in 1975.

"He's obviously a legend somewhat and I'm proud of that," the younger Todd said. "He's been to every golf tournament I've ever played. I don't see him ever missing any of my tournaments at all."

Presumably, that will include the NCAA East Regional beginning today. Todd, a freshman, is already one of the Tide's top players, finishing tied for 12th at the Southeastern Conference championships despite a final-round 79 after opening with a pair of 71s.

"I felt like the whole year I've played two good rounds, but couldn't finish a tournament," said Todd, who has led the team with a 74.94 stroke average during the spring. "One day would kill me. I don't think I've played my best yet this year, but our team has really stuck together. It seems like we've taken turns playing well. We've all pitched in well."

Todd grew up playing baseball and basketball, until his father introduced him to golf at 14. At Coffee High School in Florence, he was named an American Junior Golf Association All-American, ranked in the top 25 juniors nationally and shot 67 in the first round of the 2004 Class 5A state championship.

Alabama coach Jay Seawell wants Todd to stay focused on the present.

"He just needs to put those wild thoughts out of his head and do what he does best," Seawell said. "He needs to let the game just happen. All coaches say that, but it's true."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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