Auburn junior Tyler McKeever did his part to keep his team in contention as he followed an opening day 68 with a two-under-par 70 and he is one stroke off the individual lead at seven-under-par held by Bruce McDonald of College of Charleston.
"Coach Griffin wasn't real excited about today's round," McKeever says. "Our first three guys came in with rounds that they don't usually shoot. Those guys are far better players than what they shot today. He basically wanted to challenge us and let us know that UAB beat us good today and we need to go out on Sunday and challenge them the way they challenged us today."
Unranked UAB shot a tournament record 277 total, which is 11-under-par. Auburn, in contrast, finished at 298, one of the worst rounds Griffin remembers the Tigers shooting at the Saughatchee Country Club course. Perfect conditions made the 298 total even more disappointing for his 13th-ranked team.
The Tigers had to count a 78 from Stuart Moore and a 79 from Will Claxton to go with McKeever's 70 plus a 71 from Lee Williams. Jay Mundy, who has been Auburn's top player, struggled with an 82.
"My hat is off to them (UAB)," Griffin says. "A 277 total is what you coach for. That is what those players play for, too. They threw out a 72. I would have paid $500 for that 72 they threw out today."
Auburn, the defending champion, will not be defending its title if UAB puts another 277 on the scoreboard, but Griffin says his team is still in the hunt. "If we decided to shoot 277, anything can happen," the coach says.
Griffin says the day was a "mixed bag" because in addition to McKeever, Williams is in the running for the individual title. He has put together two rounds of 71 and is in fourth place, five shots off the pace. Also, Jonathan Dismuke, who is playing as an individual, is in the Top 10 along with Matthew Myers. Dismuke shot a 72 and is tied for seventh at even par. Myers shot a 74 on Saturday and is tied for 10th at plus one.
UAB is led by Nathan Turner, who is in third place at five-under-par. He shot a 70 on Saturday to help the Blazers break the tournament record by one stroke. The previous record was a 278 shot by Georgia in 1990 and 1998 and by LSU in 1992.
UAB has a 578 team total and is followed by Arkansas (584), Auburn (585), Georgia State (589) and College of Charleston (589), Florida State (592), Vanderbilt (593), Southeastern Louisiana (595), Mississippi State (601) while Memphis (607), Ole Miss (607) and Alabama (607) are tied for last place.
The third and final round starts at 7:50 a.m. on Sunday. Auburn's five scoring players tee off at 8:50 a.m.