Tigers 4th, Williams Leads At NCAA Golf Tournament

Auburn is four shots off the lead after two days at the NCAA Men's Golf Championship in Oklahoma.

Stillwater, Okla.--Before the start of the 2003 Men's NCAA Golf Championship at the Karsten Creek Club Golf Course, if you would have told the Auburn Tigers they would have been four shots off the lead heading into the final two rounds they would have taken that score in a heartbeat.

That's not the case right now as a rough finish to round two knocked them from the lead and vaulted the UCLA Bruins into sole possession of first place at 22-over-par heading into Thursday's play for round three of four rounds.

Lee Williams is in first place at the halfway point.

After getting off to a rocky start in the round that was delayed over 30 minutes because the course played so tough that the morning rounds took longer than expected, Auburn caught fire and held a six-shot lead on the Bruins through 13 holes. Then hard times hit as the Tigers played the next five holes in 11-over-par to finish +15 for the day and 26-over for the tournament.

Tied with Florida for fourth place, Auburn is four shots behind UCLA while Oklahoma State (+23) and Clemson (+25) stand just ahead of the SEC schools. Wake Forest (+34), Southern Cal (+35), UNLV (+37), Minnesota (+38), Arizona State (+38) and Washington (+38) round out the top 10 heading into the final two rounds of the tournament.

"If somebody had asked us if we were going to be tied for fourth heading into the final two rounds would we be happy with it and I would have probably said yes when you figure the teams and the quality of the golf course," Auburn Coach Mike Griffin said following the round. "Although right now you could probably get into our van and talk to our guys they probably wouldn't be too excited about that at this point because everything is relative to where you are at any given time.

"We've still got an awful lot of golf ahead of us. We just barely got through today. We're just going to do the best we can tomorrow and we'll worry about the last round when we get there. We have to take it one day at a time."

Jay Munday followed up Tuesday's disastrous 87 with a solid 76 in round two.

Unlike Tuesday's opening round when the deadly 17th hole was Auburn's nemesis, Wednesday it was the short par four 6th hole that doomed the Tigers. Playing to a length of just 344 yards, it was supposed to be a chance to make birdie or at worst a par, but that's not what happened in round two.

"There's so many holes that will take strokes away from you," Griffin said. "The little sixth hole, which is a tiny little hole, we're hitting three wood and a wedge to it today and make two doubles and a bogey on it today. That was very disappointing because while you might not make birdie on it every time, you're certainly not supposed to be making doubles and workingman bogeys on a hole like that. It's just simple.

"We threw away some careless strokes today, but there's not a team here that can't say that. It's a golf course that works on your mind. We're probably fortunate to be right where we are."

Once again Lee Williams was the bellcow for the Tigers with an even par round of 72 that has him in the overall lead in the tournament by three shots over Oklahoma's State's Hunter Mahan, who is even par after two days. Jay Mundy (76), Tyler McKeever (77) and Jonathan Dismuke (77) rounded out Auburn's scoring for the day while Will Claxton's score of 88 was thrown out.

The Tigers will tee off in the afternoon round again on Thursday and they will likely be paired with the Gators and the Demon Deacons. All the action can be followed live at the link below.

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