Mundy Leads AU Team That Hopes To Defend SEC Title

Senior Jay Mundy has a stroke average of 71.82 in 17 rounds this season with a low round of 68.

Auburn, Ala.--Led by senior Jay Mundy, the 12th-ranked Auburn men's golf team will try to defend its championship at the 2003 SEC Championships on the par-70, 6,885-yard Seaside Golf Course.

Competition will run Friday through Sunday in Sea Island, Georgia. A third-place finisher in the individual competition in last year's event on a course he's very familiar with, Mundy is hopeful that the Tigers can continue the improvement they have shown this spring and come home with the title.

"They've had the SECs there the past two years," Mundy told Inside The Auburn Tigers. "For some reason I think everybody on the team really likes that course. Just the way it sets up fits our game pretty good. I actually grew up playing down there at Sea Island; I take lessons from an instructor down there. I'm pretty familiar with the course anyway, but hopefully we'll go down there and be able to win the SECs again. That's our goal."

Jay Mundy

In addition to the Tigers, ninth-ranked Florida, 13th-ranked Georgia, 19th-ranked Arkansas and 23rd-ranked Tennessee will be in the field. Other schools participating will be Alabama, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.

An Augusta, Ga., native who started his college career at Furman before transferring to Auburn as a sophomore, Mundy will play the number one spot for the Tigers. Junior Lee Williams, the current SEC Golfer of the Week for his win in Sunday's Auburn University Club Multi-Match, plays the number two slot. Junior Tyler McKeever will play at number three, sophomore Will Claxton at number four and freshman Stuart Moore will play the number five position.

Last season Auburn surprised the field at the SEC Championships with an 857 total to defeat second-place Florida by seven shots and third-place Georgia by nine strokes. Mundy led the way with a 212 (-4) total to finish third while Claxton was fourth at 213 and Williams tied for fifth at 214. The good performance last year should help the Tigers as they try to win their third SEC Tournament Championship.

"We are going into this tournament with a sense of pride," says Auburn head coach Mike Griffin. "Our guys have a good feeling go into this tournament, especially since they are coming in as defending champions. You always want to make a good effort to defend a championship. We have played well at this golf course the past two years.

"Jay Mundy loves this golf course. He has played well on it the past two years. Everyone on the team is playing well right now so I am looking forward to seeing them play this week. We are excited to play in this tournament. It is always a fun one to be at."

Just like their women counterparts, the men's team has improved in the spring after having an average fall. In four tournaments in the fall season, Auburn's best finish was a fourth-place at the PING/Golfweek Preview at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma, the site of the 2003 NCAA Championships later this year. That has changed this spring as Auburn has won three times in six tournaments (Palencia Collegiate Invitational, The Conrad Rehling Intercollegiate, Auburn University Club Multi-Match) and has finished no lower than sixth in any tournament. Mundy said that he's been pleased with how the team has developed.

"I think so far we've had a pretty successful year," Mundy says. "After losing Kevin Haefner, who was an All-American, somebody needed to step up and fill his shoes. Stuart Moore, a freshman, is playing good right now. The team as a whole is playing good right now. We didn't play too well in the fall, but I think this spring season we have stepped it up a notch and started playing better golf."

A leader who had to be talked into taking over the role last season, Haefner left a big hole for Mundy to fill coming into this season. A quiet but confident play like Haefner, Mundy had to develop his role just like Haefner, but his play and this team's improvement are the proof that he's getting the job done as this team heads down the home stretch of his senior season.

"Coach kind of sat me down at the end of last year and told me that I was the only senior coming up and we needed somebody to fill his shoes," Mundy says. "Those were my expectations coming into this year, to be as good or hopefully better than he was last year. Hopefully, I'm doing a good enough job."

Mundy will find out a lot about his leadership skills this weekend when Auburn tries to repeat against one of the toughest fields that they will see this season. Win or lose, he says this weekend is going to be about keeping composure in the face of constant pressure.

"That course is pretty tough over there," Mundy notes. "If the wind starts picking up it can be a real bear of a course. This is the third year we have played it, but this is the other teams' third year to play it as well. I just want to go in there and not lose our focus as the defending SEC Champions. We just need to go in there and try to win it again."

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