Tigers 8th, Williams 2nd At NCAA Golf Championship

The Auburn men's golf team had the second best finish in school history at the national tournament with junior Lee Williams leading the effort.

Stillwater, Okla.--Lee Williams' bid to win the NCAA Men's Golf Championship individual title came up just short as he faltered down the stretch while Arizona State's Alejandro Canizares caught the Auburn junior at the end of the 72-hole tournament.

With Williams leading the way, the Tigers finished eighth as a team, the second best performance at the nationals in AU men's golf history. In 1994 the fivesome of Iain Steel, Chip Spratlin, Gary Christian, Will Blackmon and Brett Boner finished seventh. Spratlin is the only Tiger to win the NCAA individual title, taking that at the 1995 nationals.

Williams finished at one-over-par 289, two strokes off the pace of Canizares, who shot a 69 on Friday to catch Williams. The Auburn junior slipped to a 77 in the final round after shooting rounds of 69, 72 and 71 at the challenging Karsten Creek Golf Club.

The Auburn junior from Alexander City was in great shape to win the title until suffering back-to-back double bogeys on the par four 16th and 17th holes. Canizares struggled on the same two holes, too, but picked up two strokes by making bogeys on each. Canizares birdied four other holes on the back nine, including 18, to capture the individual championship.

Lee Williams is in line to win All-America honors.

"(The course) got me today, but with four rounds out here, you're going to have one round where things more than likely won't go your way," Williams said. "It's just how low you can make that round. The first three days, I survived pretty good, but today, I just didn't hit it my best. I was scoring decent until (Nos.) 16 and 17, but I hit two mediocre shots at an uncalled for time. Regardless, I'm better from this experience. It's just a golf tournament. I'm still going to be okay tomorrow. I always have another year, and I'm better for leading three rounds and coming to the last round. It happens to a lot of people. I didn't play well, it just happened to be my last round. I don't consider it being the fourth round why I played badly."

Coach Mike Griffin said, Our total today was poor. The numbers as a whole today were high. The golf course was set up pretty well, there was a little bit of wind, and as a rule, the scores were higher, but ours were higher than most.

"Eighth place is the second-best finish we've ever had the championships, which is okay, but having started out first, it's disappointing, because I know we would have loved to have finished better, particularly in view of the fact that you look at the board and see you didn't really have to play that great today in order to hold on to sixth or get into the top five. Counting three 77s and an 81 is not necessarily what we had in mind today, but I guess it was our best shot. "

Clemson, the team that dominated the field at the NCAA East Regional in Auburn, was unable to manhandle the course like it had done at the Auburn University Club. However, the ACC power's 1,191 total was good enough for a two-shot victory over the host school, Oklahoma State. Clemson had rounds of 299, 302, 287 and 303. Auburn shot rounds of 299, 303, 301 and 312.

Jay Mundy was the only senior in Auburn's NCAA Tournament lineup.

Jay Mundy and Will Claxton also shot rounds of 77 on Friday. Munday finished at 322, 24-over-par, which put him in a tie for 83rd place. He opened with an 87 and followed that with a 76 and an 82. Claxton, who finished with a 326 total, opened with a 75, ballooned to 88 and 86 in days two and three. He finished in a tie for 86th place.

Auburn had to count Tyler McKeever's 81 total as its fourth score on Friday and didn't count Jonathan Dismuke's 82. McKeever had rounds of 81, 78 and 71 the first three days and finished at 311 in a tie for 59th place. Dismuke shot 74, 77, 77 the first three rounds and finished at 310, 22-over-par in a tie for 56th place.

Clemson was 39 strokes over par and Auburn was 63-over-par. Auburn, which was tied for the lead early in the tournament, finished three shots out of seventh place, which was held by Augusta State at 1,212. Florida, which finished tied for fourth at 1,198 with Wake Forest, was the only SEC team to finish ahead of Auburn.

Final Results


Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories