Sugar Grove, Ill.--Struggling out of the gate on Sunday, the Auburn Tigers finished strong with freshman Jovan Rebula making a pair of eagles on the back nine on the way to a 71 as Coach Nick Clinard’s team made the 15-team cut to advance to the final day of stroke play at the Men’s NCAA Golf Championships.
Currently ninth, one shot behind both Baylor and Virginia who are tied for seventh, Auburn will need to finish in the top eight after Monday’s final round to advance to the match-play portion of the championships.
Watching his team get off to a slow start, Clinard said a strong finish was just the right medicine for his team heading into the final day.
“We struggled at the beginning, and we hit some loose shots, and it played pretty tough with the wind blowing out of the northwest today,” said Clinard. “The guys really came back. In the middle of the round, we made some birdies and got back into it and coming down the stretch. At 18, we had a birdie and an eagle. Jovan (Rebula) had two beautiful shots to 10 feet and made it.”
Trace Crowe was the steadiest of Auburn’s golfers on the day, making three birdies and a double bogey to fire a round of 71 to match Rebula. Jacob Solomon’s 73 and Ryan Benton’s 75 finished up the scoring rounds for the Tigers with Matt Gilchrest coming home with a 78 on the day.
Vanderbilt (-18) leads the field through three rounds with Oklahoma, USC and USC all a shot back at 17-under. Illinois (-14) and Oklahoma State (-12) round out the top group with Baylor, Virginia, Auburn and LSU (-16) rounding out the top 10.
Auburn will tee off in Monday’s final round of stroke play at 1:10 pm CT on No. 10 with Baylor and Virginia as the Golf Channel will televise the NCAA Championship live from 4-7 pm CT.
“We are in good shape,” said Clinard. “The weather is going to be good tomorrow with the wind blowing 15-25 mph. It is anybody’s ballgame. We are going to go out there and freewheel it and play great golf and have some fun.”
The match play quarterfinals and semifinals both take place on Tuesday at 7 am and 1:30 pm, respectively. The NCAA Championship match is on Wednesday at 2:10 pm.
Golf Channel will also televise live on Tuesday from 10:30 am -12:30 pm and 3:30-7 pm and Wednesday from 3-7 pm.