Sugar Grove, Ill.--Out in the first wave of Friday’s first round of the Men’s NCAA Division I Golf Championships, the Auburn Tigers rode a five-under par round of 67 by Jacob Solomon to fire a 282 (-6) and are the clubhouse leader with still half of the field needing to finish their first round at Rich Harvest Farms Golf Club.
With inclement weather forcing a lengthy delay and ultimately darkness forcing teams off the course, Auburn trails Vanderbilt (-8) with the Commodores on the final four holes. Oklahoma State (-5), USC (-4), UNLV, Illinois, LSU and Baylor (all at -3) also have yet to finish their rounds.
Of the teams that finished, Ole Miss and Alabama were the only other teams under par, both finishing one-under for the day.
Getting in the clubhouse with a solid score was the first order of business for Coach Nick Clinard’s team and he said that accomplished that goal.
“It is a tough golf course, but it’s score-able,” he said. “If you manage your game and hit it in the right spots you’ll have a lot of opportunities to make birdie out there. We got off to a good start. We started on 10 and 11 is a pretty simple par five, pretty easy for the guys. We made some birdies there.
“We played well the whole day and got it to 10-under at one time, but we had a few hiccups coming in. We bounced back on nine, our last hole of the day, and made a couple of birdies to balance out the bogeys we made. It’s a good start to the week. It’s a long week. We’ll be ready to go tomorrow afternoon.”
In addition to the 67 by Solomon, Auburn also got a strong round from Matt Gilchrest as his three-under 69 helped the Tigers set the pace early. Ryan Benton and Trace Crowe both fired rounds of 73 (+1) with Jovan Rebula’s 74 rounding out the scoring for Auburn.
With three rounds of stroke play competition to set themselves up to advance to match play, Clinard said so far so good for the Tigers.
“There are a lot of great players and a lot of great programs here,” Clinard said. “We are in good position. We want to go out and control ourselves. We can’t control anything else but that. We’re looking forward to the next three days of stroke play and hopefully we’ll be in good shape for match play.”
Play will resume at 6:30 a.m. local time on Saturday with round two scheduled to begin at 7:15 a.m.