Tigers Qualify For Nationals On Challenging Course

With Jonathan Dismuke and Stuart Moore finishing in a tie for fourth individually, Auburn played like one of the top teams in the nation in qualifying for the NCAA Men's Golf Championship.

New Haven, Conn.--Surprising Auburn is headed to the NCAA Men's Golf Championship after a solid final round Saturday in the East Regional at The Course at Yale on Saturday.

The Tigers stayed consistent for a third straight day on a demanding golf course with a seven-over-par, 287 round while other schools' scorecards ballooned, knocking many out of contention.

"They went out there with a job to do and they did whatever they had to do to accomplish it," Auburn coach Mike Griffin said. "At this point I am just awful proud of them. The high number we had was a 74 and I don't think there were many teams that could say that today."

Clemson was the only team to shoot under par on Saturday and won the event with a 16-over-par 856 total. Clemson shot a three-under-par 277 on Saturday to gain 10 strokes on Penn State, which finished second at 862.

Georgia and Georgia Tech tied at 864 while the nation's number one ranked team, Florida, was fifth, one shot ahead of Auburn. Ten teams from each of three regionals advance to the nationals and unranked Auburn made the cut with 15 shots to spare in what is considered the toughest of the three regionals.

"My guys came in talking mostly at lunch about the difficulty of the hole locations," Griffin said. "The tournament committee put the hole locations in difficult and dangerous positions all week, but they really found some good ones today.

"You could have a putt within 10 feet of the hole and you were defenseless," Griffin added. "There was nothing you could do with it. You would be lucky if you could get it close to the hole. You weren't even thinking about making it."

With two of its top players redshirting, the Tigers struggled much of the season, but began playing better late in the spring with a victory at the Billy Hitchcock Invitational and a strong showing at the SEC Championship.

"We seem to pretty much know what our game is," Griffin said. "They have been a struggling team for most of their lives. They're just people who have had to prove something.

"Those kinds of people have been toughened by hard knocks," the Auburn coach added. "They can handle the tough situations better than people who happen to be overly talented. In tough situations like this, talent will only carry you so far. Somewhere in there you've got to have some inner toughness. I think that is one of the things that this group has got."

Jonathan Dismuke

Jonathan Dismuke and Stuart Moore finished at even par in their final round, both firing 70s. For the tournament, they finished at 211, four strokes off the pace set by Bill Haas of Wake Forest. The two Tigers were tied for fourth place.

Will Claxton's and Andrew Medley's 74s left both Tigers at four-over-par for the day while Matthew Myers finished at three-over with his 73. For the tournament, Claxton finished 10-over-par at 220. Myers shot a 225 and Medley totaled 229.

"I think they played a good bit of patient golf," Griffin said. "That is it on a golf course like this. You've got to be overly patient with the golf course because it looks pretty easy, but the first thing you know it will rare up and smack you in the face."

Dismuke's Saturday round included bogeys on numbers one and nine, but got back to even par with birdies on holes seven and 12. Eight pars on the back nine helped earn Dismuke his 70 and left him one-over-par for the tournament.

Moore opened at one-under-par with his birdie on the fourth hole, but went bogey, birdie, and bogey on numbers six, seven and eight. A birdie on number 11 and a bogey on 17 left Moore tied with Dismuke at one-over for the tournament.

Myers' front nine was difficult with bogeys on holes three and eight and a double bogey on four, but eight pars and a birdie on number 11 brought him back to a 73 for the day.

Medley began his round with a double bogey on number one. Three straight bogeys on holes seven, eight and nine left Medley at three-over-par despite birdies on numbers three and five. Medley finished one-over-par on the back nine with bogeys on numbers 11, 12 and 15 with birdies on 14 and 18.

Claxton birdied number one, but bogeys on holes two and three left him at one-over on the front nine. A double bogey on 12 and a bogey on 16 put Claxton at 10-over for the tournament.

Auburn will head to Hot Springs, Va., for the NCAA Championship June 1-4 at The Homestead golf course.

Coach Mike Griffin

"I think that hopefully by what we've learned this year with a tough schedule, playing well in the conference and playing well here maybe we will be better prepared for the nationals, but we will see how it all turns out," Griffin said.


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