Too Much Hacking Sends Tigers Packing

The men's golf team's third round struggles ended the season for the Tigers at the NCAA Championships.

Pacific Palisades, Calif.--Auburn's trip to the NCAA Men's Golf Championships ended prematurely on Thursday as the Tigers failed to finish in the top eight teams after 54 holes so they did not qualify for the final three days of the tournament, which features eight teams in a match play format.

Coach Nick Clinard's Tigers, who went into the 30-team event ranked No. 4 nationally, struggled for a second consecutive round on Thursday after finishing in second place after day one. Auburn and Southern Cal finished in 15th place with an 880 team total, five shots away from the cut line.

Juniors Blayne Barber and Dominic Bozzelli continued their solid play for the Tigers, but their three teammates struggled. Barber wrapped up play with a one-under-par round of 70 on Thursday while Bozzelli shot a 71.

"We got off to a good start in the first round, but the last two days we just didn't play well," Clinard said. "We didn't get a lot of production from our three, four and five guys. Blayne and Dominic played great as expected, and the other guys just didn't have their A-game this week."

For the tournament Barber led the Tigers with an even par 213 total. After three bogeys and three birdies left him at even after the front nine on Thursday, the back nine provided a small adventure for Barber. Back-to-back birdies early, one in which was chipped in, gave the junior promise for completing a strong round. However, a near ace on the 16th went into the bunker and the Auburn golfer ended up taking a bogey.

With Barber's score of 70, his single-season stroke average is 70.75, which sets an Auburn record.

Bozzelli opened the third round with his best score on the front nine thus far in the tournament at Riveria Country Club, finishing it a team-leading two-under par. After bogeying the second hole for the third time in three days, he moved under par with birdies at holes five, six and seven.

Bozzelli, however, wasn't able to get anything going on the back nine as he carded two bogeys, raising his score to even par for the day and two-over-par for the tournament.

Bozzelli is shown in competition on Thursday at Riveria Country Club.

Double bogeying the first hole was how Michael Johnson's day began. The front nine also continued to be a challenge as the freshman bogeyed three holes before making a birdie on nine to head to the back nine at four-over.

Johnson improved after bogeying the first two holes on the back nine, later shooting a birdie on 13th to finish the round at five-over-par 76. For the tournament he finished at 18-over-par 231.

Will McCurdy's front nine was the worst for the Tigers on Thursday as he started the day with bogeys on the first and second holes. He bogeyed the second hole all three days.

Despite double-bogeying the par four fourth hole and finishing the front nine with four bogeys on his card, McCurdy played a solid back nine, including two birdies, to finish the day at 76. Overall he shot a 13-over-par 226.

Niclas Carlsson had the team's worst round for a second day in a row as he shot a 77. Starting with a birdie on the first hole, Carlsson bogeyed three holes prior to finishing the front nine.

A double bogey to start the back nine wrote the script for the remainder of Carlsson's round as he would bogey four more times and have two birdies to finish the day at six-over par. The Tigers dropped his score from the team total on Thursday. For three days of competition he shot a 17-over-par 230.

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