It went down to the wire, but a late up and down by Jonathan Dismuke wound up being the difference between advancing and staying at home for Auburn.
Jay Mundy had a terrific round on Saturday at one under par 71.
Led by Lee Williams, who shot a one-under par round of 71 Saturday to finish –7 for the tournament, Auburn shot a total of 295 (+7) to hold off hard-charging Georgia Southern. Playing to keep their season going, the Eagles fired a 286 (-2) and challenged the Tigers, falling just short in their bid to keep the home team from advancing.
"We've done our work now we have to sit back and watch the other guys," Auburn Coach Mike Griffin. "Our work thus far was good enough. It hasn't been fabulous, but if you advance out of here you are tied for the lead at the national championship. That's the only thing that matters.
"The last time we hosted a regional was 1994 out of Grand National and we finished ninth. We got to nationals and had our best finish ever," Griffin said. "We did a much better job of finishing at nationals and hopefully we can do the same thing here. We've got to regroup and start playing better golf."
Auburn appeared to be coasting towards a trip to Oklahoma for much of the day until the Eagles made a strong run, but two holes cost them dearly down the home stretch. The team was six-over-par on holes 14 and 15 to hand the spot to the Tigers.
Much of that was due to the play of Travis Mobley for GSU. While Auburn was coming in with rounds of 71 by Jay Mundy, 76 by Jonathan Dismuke, 77 by Will Claxton and 78 by Tyler McKeever, Auburn's number one golfer who failed to count a round all week, the Eagles were closing the gap. That is until Mobley got to hole 14.
Burning up the course with four birdies and no bogeys through 13 holes, he came to the par 3 looking to seal advancement for his team. Instead, he found heartbreak. Bogeying 14, Mobley proceeded to play the final five holes in four over par with a triple bogey on the par three 17th. That wound up being the difference in Auburn's day as the Tigers survived an up and down round to advance.
"Right now we're a little bit disappointed that we didn't play a little bit better here on our home course," Williams said. "We expect to at least challenge the lead on your home golf course. This is the second time this year we haven't played good at home, which is real surprising to all of us. It will be like starting all over when we go to nationals. We won't be dwelling on the past. It's always great to make it to nationals. Anytime you make it to nationals it's just an honor to be there.
"If you win this tournament you don't get a ring like the SEC Championship and the nationals, but 10th this and 1st next, it doesn't matter. Everyone is always gearing up for the national championship, not the east regional. Finishing 10th is just as good as first in my opinion. You just need to make it there."
Clemson walked away with the team title, firing a –11 round to finish –25 for the tournament. Georgia Tech was next at –16 for three days with Florida next at a distant five under par. Tennessee (-1), Duke (+2), Wake Forest (+4), Augusta State (+9), South Carolina (+9) and Vandy (+11) comprised the rest of the Top 10 in the regional.