Golfers Looking to Win Columbus Regional

The Auburn men's golf team will open play at the NCAA Columbus Regional on Friday morning as the Tigers will be paired with New Mexico and Stanford.

Auburn, Ala--The No. 18 ranked Auburn men's golf team will try to earn a spot in the NCAA Championships when the Tigers begin play in the NCAA Columbus Regional Thursday-Saturday at the Ohio State Golf Club's Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio.

Auburn is making its 22nd appearance in the last 24 years and fourth consecutive trip to an NCAA regional since Nick Clinard took over as head coach. He notes his team is prepared to play well this week and is looking forward to see how they respond.

"The guys have worked hard, and they deserve this," Clinard says. "The Scarlet Course is a great venue for us. It is a tough test, but it is fair. It is right there in front of you.

"The biggest thing we need to worry about is getting better. We don't need to get lost in the process. We need to improve and become better players and a better team. Results will take care of themselves if you do that.

"I think we have a good chance to win," Clinard adds. "We are there to win. This is a business trip for us. We are looking forward to it."

A classic course that is one of the top collegiate tracks in the country, the Scarlet Course was the annual home to the NCAA Championships in the 1990s and a place where Auburn golfer Chip Spratlin won the individual title in 1995. It's a place that Clinard is very familiar with after playing there as a collegian and also watching Blayne Barber play a tournament there on the Tour last year.

Senior Michael Hebert will be in the top spot for the Tigers following a tie for fifth place individually at the SEC Championship. The All-SEC Second Team selection has led Auburn in scoring throughout the year with a 72.67 and set an Auburn school SEC Championship record after shooting a 66 in the first round. Hebert leads the team in rounds at par or better with 15 and sub-par rounds with 11.

Junior Niclas Carlsson will play in the No. 2 position after a tie for 15th at the SEC Championship. Carlsson is fifth on the team in scoring average at 73.63. The native of Sweden won his third career tournament at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate and has posted four top-25 finishes this season.

Auburn's most experienced player, senior Dominic Bozzelli, is in the third spot for Auburn following his team-high seventh top-20 finish at the SEC Championship. Bozzelli won his third tournament of his career to begin the spring season at the Amer Ari Invitational.

Sophomore Michael Johnson will be in the fourth position and is second on the team in scoring at 73.15. Johnson has placed in the Top 20 six times in tournaments including back-to-back runnerup finishes at the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate and the U.S. Collegiate. Johnson also tied for seventh at the Samford Intercollegiate.

Rounding out the Tigers' lineup is Freshman All-SEC selection Jake Mondy. The Blacksburg, Va., native is fourth on the team in scoring at 73.62 and has a team-high five rounds in the 60s. Mondy won his first collegiate tournament in his first start at The McLaughlin and has six Top 25 finishes this season. He says the team is playing well at the right time heading into the regional.

"I think you can expect us to put together four good scores together each day," Mondy says. "All of us have been playing pretty well. The seniors are really playing well and Michael Johnson and I are getting into the swing of things. The course fits most of our games pretty well, and the weather is supposed to be decent so that helps. I think you can expect a good showing from us."

Auburn is scheduled to tee off at 7 a.m. CDT on Thursday with No. 6 New Mexico and No. 8 Stanford. The top five teams advance out of the 13-team regional to the NCAA Championships.

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