Coach Nick Clinard (above left) is shown with Michael Johnson.
Auburn, Ala.--For the seventh consecutive year and the 25th time in 27 years, the 8th-ranked Auburn men’s golf team is headed to the NCAA Regionals as Coach Nick Clinard’s team is the No. 2 seed in the Tuscaloosa Regional at Ol’ Colony Golf Complex on May 16-18. No. 5 Georgia, No. 17 South Carolina, No. 19 Alabama, UNLV, Kentucky, Kansas and Charleston make up the other top eight seeds in the regional.
The top five teams from each regional will advance to the NCAA Championships at Eugene Country Club in Oregon on May 27-June 1. Other teams in the Tuscaloosa Regional are Lipscomb, Charleston Southern, Colorado, Harvard and Southern Illinois.
Coach Nick Clinard said that getting to play close to home is something that should pay dividends for his team as the Tigers try to advance to the NCAA Championships.
“I am really excited we get to play in our own state,” said Clinard. “In the beauty of our sport, the challenges are we get to play a really good Alabama team on their own golf course and playing against Georgia, who is arguably the best team in the country. We hope to go there and meet the challenge and make some noise nationally.”
Leading the way for the Tigers is All-SEC performer and Ben Hogan Award semi-finalist Michael Johnson. Currently eighth in the country in the Golfstat Cup rankings, Johnson has won a school record three tournaments this season and his scoring average of 70.06 is currently the lowest in program history. Auburn counted 30 of his 32 rounds played this year. As a team Auburn won four times this season and finished outside the top six just once in 14 tournaments dating back to the fall.
Now with the focus shifting to the NCAA Tournament, Auburn assistant Corey Maggard said it's all about peaking at the right time.
"I think it comes down to every day your approach is to improve and try to eliminate holes in your game," Maggard said. "Whether that's the day before you leave for a tournament or whether it's three months out, it's about every day having that mindset. We try to peak at the right time. I don't think we'll really change anything we've done all year long."