Auburn advances to NCAA Championship for eighth straight year


Despite a challenging final round in the NCAA Louisville Regional Wednesday afternoon, the No. 11 Auburn men’s golf team advanced to the NCAA Championship for the eighth consecutive season.

The Tigers had an 8-stroke lead heading into the final round at the par-71 University of Louisville Golf Club, but shot a 5-over 289 to finish in second at 10-under (276-277-289–842) for the tournament.

“We were sleepwalking right out of the gate,” head coach Nick Clinard said. “We got off to a rough start and we didn’t look really good mentally or physically. The guys hung in there on the back nine and made a few birdies.

“Overall, we’re pretty disappointed. We came here to win and we didn’t accomplish that.”

Auburn tallied just three birdies as a team on the front nine, but produced seven birdies and an eagle on the back nine to advance. The Tigers finished 20 strokes ahead of the cut line.

“The golf course was playing a little difficult today,” Jovan Rebula said. “The conditions were pretty good, but the way the course was set up today, you had to hit fairways to give yourself chances to attack the flags. We just did not do that today. You’ve got to position yourself well on the golf course and the other teams just did that better than us.

“Overall, we came here for one job and that was to advance to the NCAA Championship. That is what we did, so there’s a lot of positives to take from this week and we learned a lot.”

Trace Crowe led the way and finished in a tie for 10th at 3-under (70-68-72–210). The senior shot 3-over on the front nine, but closed his final circuit with a clean back nine that featured two birdies.

Jacob Solomon finished just one shot back at 2-under (73-66-72–211) in a tie for 12th. The fellow senior had the highlight of the round for Auburn when he carded an eagle on the par-5, 558-yard 13th hole.

Graysen Huff ended his three-day tournament at even par (68-73-72–213). The junior scattered five birdies across the final 18 holes of play with two coming on the front nine and three on the back nine.

Rounding out the lineup were Brandon Mancheno and Rebula, who tied for 35th at 5-over, respectively. Mancheno (71-70-77–218) turned in 12 pars in his last round, while Rebula (67-78-73–218) totaled 12 pars to go along with a pair of birdies.

The five teams that advance to the NCAA Championship, May 24-29 in Fayetteville, Ark., include No. 1 Oklahoma State, who took the team title at 14-under (838), followed by No. 11 Auburn (842), No. 25 Baylor (845), No. 21 Louisville (859) and No. 13 North Florida (860).

West Virginia (862), Mississippi State (866), Iowa State (867), Arizona (869), Southern Illinois (877), Arkansas State (878), New Mexico (881) and Jacksonville State (886) had their seasons come to a close.

The Tigers are one of four teams to move on to the NCAA Championship for the eighth consecutive season, joining Illinois, Oklahoma and Texas.

“We’re a great team,” Clinard said. “We’re a great program – one of the best in the country. We’re looking forward to cleaning some stuff up and get ready for next week.”

Categories: Alabama Sports