The 18th-ranked Tigers shot a nine-over-par 294 on Thursday, six strokes off the pace set by Charlotte. Auburn led early in the day after dropping as low as four under par.
Senior Dominic Bozzelli led the Tigers on Thursday with an even par 71 in day one of three days of competition. He was two-under-par before taking a double at the par 3 13th. He followed that with a birdie on 14 and a bogey on 15.
The Tigers also counted rounds of 72 from sophomore Michael Johnson and 75 from junior Niclas Carlsson and freshman Jake Mondy.
Michael Hebert, a senior who was playing in the No. 1 spot for the Tigers, finished the day with nine bogeys on his way to a 78, a score his team did not have to count.
Auburn is two shots behind fourth place UCLA and one shot ahead of Missouri as well as fifth-ranked New Mexico, which is the top seed in the regional. Stanford, which is ranked seventh nationally and the No. 2 seed, is in third place, two shots ahead of Auburn. South Carolina is in second place, one shot behind Charlotte, a team coached by former Auburn player Ryan Cabbage, who was also an assistant coach for the Tigers.
Commenting on the Scarlet Course where no team finished under par, Cabbage said, "It wasn't as difficult today as it was yesterday in the practice round. With just a little bit less wind blowing, it was a little bit more playable, but at the same time it is still a very difficult golf course. With the greens as complex as they are and the rough that's off the fairways and around the greens, it's still a good challenge and it was a good round by our team today."
The three par fives on the par 71 course were the biggest problem for the Auburn Tigers, who finished a combined six-over-par on those holes. "It is too strong of a field to give away shots there," said Auburn coach Nick Clinard, who added, "However, we are still within striking distance after the first day. We need to let the game come to us and come back strong Friday."
The top five teams at the event will advance to the NCAA Championship, which will be held May 28-June 2nd at the Capital City Club in Atlanta.