Tuscaloosa, Ala.--Despite a struggle down the stretch in Tuesday’s second round of the Tuscaloosa Men’s Golf Regional at Ol’ Colony Golf Complex, the Auburn Tigers find themselves in good position to qualify for the NCAA Championships after firing a two-over par round of 290. Currently fifth and needing to remain in the top five to qualify, Auburn’s team score of +8 is nine shots ahead of both UNLV (+17) and College of Charleston (+17) heading into the final round on Wednesday.
"We played pretty well both rounds except for the last couple of holes," Auburn Coach Nick Clinard said. "The first day we had five holes left and really struggled coming in. Today we were about three under as a team with the last two or three holes left to play and wound up shooting two-over. That's obviously disappointing, but the guys are playing well and starting to knock off some of that rust. We're looking forward to tomorrow."
Jacob Solomon led the way for the Tigers in the second round, firing a two-under par round of 70. Will Long also held up his end of the bargain, shooting a 71 to following up his opening 73 on Monday. Ben Schlottman (74), Matt Gilchrest (76) and Michael Johnson (76) finished off the scoring for Auburn on a day when they just struggled down the stretch to bring it home.
"We just hit some bad shots at the wrong time," Clinard said. "We had the right numbers and just have to hit it in the right spots. We had a couple of three-putts and it's such a challenging course. We'll be ready to go tomorrow. The guys are sharp and excited for the opportunity."
Georgia leads the way in the regional at -13 overall for the tournament after firing a nine-under par round on Tuesday to tie South Carolina for the best round of the day. That put the Gamecocks three shots back of the Bulldogs heading into the final day of play. Kentucky (-5) and Alabama (E) round out the schools in front of Auburn on the leaderboard.
Auburn’s lead on sixth place could have been much larger if not for the troubles over the last four holes. The Tigers made seven bogeys and one double bogey to close things out on Tuesday with just two birdies to show for it. That +7 finish kept the door slightly open for the teams chasing Auburn for the fifth and final qualifying spot on the last day of play Wednesday, but Clinard said the goal for his team is to move up and finish on a high note.
"It's a qualifier," Clinard said of the regional. "Obviously we want to finish as high as we can and now we're nine shots out of third. That's our goal tomorrow is to chase down Alabama and Kentucky. We have the firepower to do it, it's just a matter of playing the way we're capable of playing."