Tigers In 3rd After Day One NCAA Regional

Auburn is in third place following the first day of play at the Auburn Regional.

Auburn, Ala.--Despite a struggle down the stretch, day one at the NCAA Auburn Regional was a solid one for Coach Nick Clinard and the Auburn Tigers as they finished +6 for the round and in third place, seven shots behind leader Alabama. Led by senior Niclas Carlsson's two-under par round of 70 Auburn put itself in good position after the first day but Clinard said the goal isn't just to finish in the top five.

"We played well and we had some unfortunate things happen there on 7,8, and 9," Clinard said. "We had a few mud-balls, but I'm sure other teams did too. Overall, we played well and just have to finish better.

"Our goal is to win and now we're seven shots back," he added. "That's a little bit disappointing. With three holes left to play we were right there one or two shots back and we made some mistakes coming in. That's what a young team is going to do. We have three guys who have never played in regionals before. This is their first round ever so this is a new experience for them."

Auburn put itself in very good position as the Tigers found themselves even par as a team through 15 holes, but a difficult finish put a hurt on their round. It started on the usually easy part-five seventh hole as Auburn counted three pars and one bogey. The problems mounted on the long eighth. A par three playing 200 yards over water and into the wind, Auburn played it in three-over par including a double bogey from Gilchrest. Throw in a bogey on number nine and it was a rough finish to what was a strong day.

Behind Carlsson it was freshman Will Long's 74 that was the next best round for the Tigers with Jake Mondy and Matt Gilchrest each carding 75‘s. Dan Stringfellow rounded out the scoring for Auburn with an 81 on a day that Carlsson said was tough for scoring.

"I thought I played pretty solid overall," Carlsson said. "I made two bogeys and four birdies. The greens are great out there. You just have to know where to go and where you have to hit it. It was kind of wet out there because of the rain and there was a lot of wind too. You had to just pick your targets, pull the right stick off the tee, and then try to make some putts."

Carlsson's round was one of the best of the day from the entire field as he carded four birdies with only two bogies. One of those came on the difficult eighth hole, the 17th of the day for the Tigers. Despite the late stumble in his round and for the team Clinard said it's always good to have a senior leader playing well like Carlsson did on Thursday.

"He's a great player," Clinard said. "It's nothing short of what I expect. He's a great ball-striker. He's got great technique. He's really, really good mentally. If we had five of him we would be alright. He's a big-time player. He's a senior leader. He's just a hard worker and deserves all the success he's had."

Texas (+5), Colorado (+8), Kennesaw State (+9) and Louisville (+9) round out the top five. UNC-Greensboro (+10), BYU (+11), UC-Davis (+12) and Sam Houston State (+12) round out the top 10. The top five teams will advance to the NCAA Championships following Saturday's final round.

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