Tiger Golfers Second At SEC Championship

Auburn moved up two spots in the final round at the conference championship.

St. Simons Island, Ga.--Auburn made a strong final round showing, but Florida made an even stronger run to win the SEC Men's Golf Championship on Sunday.

Auburn moved up from fourth place to second in the final round. The Gators, who were in fifth place one shot behind the Tigers and eight shots off the pace with 18 holes to play, blistered the Sea Island Golf Club course on Sunday with a nine-under-par 271. That gave Florida an 856 team total. Three Gator golfers finished under par on Sunday and the other two shot even par 70.

Florida's Brett Stegmaier, a freshman from Madison, Conn., led the charge with a final round 64, his best round ever. It was also his first collegiate golf title. Previously, his best was a seventh place showing.

Stegmaier won the individual title at seven-under-par 203, one shot better than Kevin Kisner of Georgia who led after the first two rounds. Auburn's Will Claxton was third at even par 210. Claxton shot his second 68 on Sunday to go with a 74 on Saturday.

Will Claxton

After dealing with wet conditions the first two rounds in which the Tigers shot 291 and 293 totals, on Sunday they shot a two-under-par 278 to finish at 862.

Tyler McKeever led Auburn's final day rally with a three-under-par 67. He improved each day after opening with a 78 and then shooting a 74 on Saturday. Lee Williams turned at one-under-par on Sunday, but finished plus four 74 to go with earlier rounds of 70 and 73. Williams and McKeever shot 217 totals to tie for 10th place.

Freshman Stuart Moore had by far his best round on Sunday with an even-par 70, which was nine shots better than his opening round and four better than his Saturday score. Senior Jay Mundy had his best round on Sunday with a 73 after a pair of 75s the first two days. Moore and Mundy tied for 29th place with 223 totals.

Auburn was the defending champion, but couldn't keep up with the hot Gators, who were led by their hot freshman. "This is probably my best round ever," said Stegmaier. "On top of that, every one of our guys played a great round today and that made it more awesome." Last year, Camilo Benedetti of Florida won the individual title, shooting a three-day score of 210 at the same Sea Island Golf Club course.

Georgia and Tennessee, which were tied for first going into Sunday's play, faded to third and fourth. Georgia shot at 866 and Tennessee was fourth at 870. They were followed by South Carolina (875), Alabama (879), Arkansas (881), Ole Miss (890), Kentucky (899), Vanderbilt (902), Mississippi State (914) and LSU (917).

For Florida coach Buddy Alexander, it was his ninth SEC title and first since 1999. (Two of his titles were at LSU.) "We had not put everything together so far this year," he said. "Coming into this tournament, I thought we were a sleeping giant. We were lucky to be eight shots back going into th final round. It was an incredible round by our guys today."

Jay Mundy and the Tigers hope to qualify for the NCAA Championships later this season.

Auburn coach Mike Griffin said, "I am extremely pleased with the way we played today. We put forth a valiant effort and that is all you can ask. We played well enough to win, but Florida just shot the lights out. Will Claxton had a fabulous tournament and Tyler McKeever had an impressive round."

Auburn returns May 8-9 as the Tigers travel to Eagles Landing Country Club in Atlanta for The Atlanta Intercollegiate. After that the Tigers will compete in the NCAA East Regional at The Auburn University Club May 15-17.

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