Tigers Have Tough Day On Links

Auburn men's golf team struggled in round two and finds itself in a fight to make the cut at the NCAA Championships.

Hot Springs, Va.–-If Augusta National has Amen Corner for the Masters, then holes 11-15 on the Cascades Course at The Homestead must feel like Dante's infamous inferno for the Auburn men's golf team.

For the second day in a row, the Tigers dropped 10 shots in the five-hole stretch and now find themselves 13 shots out of the lead and in a tie for 16th place after the second day of play at the NCAA Championships. California leads the way at eight-over-par overall while surprising Kentucky is second at +9 and BYU at +10 is third. Auburn is +21 after two days following Wednesday's 18-over par round.

Will Claxton led the way for Coach Mike Griffin's club with a 72 on Wednesday while Jonathan Dismuke's 74 was good enough to keep him at two over par for the tournament and six shots out of the individual lead. Andrew Medley fired a 75 while Stuart Moore's 77 was the last counting score for the Tigers. Matthew Myers' 78 was thrown out by Auburn. Griffin said the day was a tough one for his team as they could never get anything going.

"We knew exactly what we were going to face and it just snatched us in the mouth," Griffin said of starting on hole 10 Wednesday. "Yesterday we played the last three holes in five-under right behind it because we had enough momentum going we were able to right the ship. Today we continued to lose strokes through 16, 17 and 18. We just struggled in from there. We didn't do anything good, we didn't do anything bad, we just struggled in."

Will Claxton

Much of Auburn's problem was starting on the back nine and playing the tough side early. Instead of getting off to a solid start the Tigers were pounded through their first six holes and never recovered. Griffin said the stretch of holes has been a backbreaker for his team in the tournament to this point.

"It slapped us around again today and the problem was that was where we had to start today," Griffin said. "We knew we were going to get it pretty fast. I didn't know how bad it was until later. We had some of our best players really struggle through there. It got us and the problem was today when it happened we weren't two-under par when it happened, we were just getting started."

Rounding out the top-10 behind BYU is Pepperdine (+11), Washington (+11), Georgia State (+12), UCLA (+12), TCU (+13), Arizona (+13), Florida (+14), Texas (+14) and Georgia Tech (+14). Then comes Clemson (+15), Purdue (+17), Penn State (+20), Oklahoma (+21), Oklahoma State (+21), Kent State (+22), New Mexico (+22), USC (+22), Texas A&M (+23), North Carolina (+25), SMU (+25), Toledo (+26), Georgia (+27), Arizona State (+36), Vanderbilt (+36), Wichita State (+42) and Rhode Island (+50).

Individually Cal's Jeff Hood, Arizona's Chris Nallen and Kentucky's Matt Wells are tied at the top, standing at four-under par after two days of play. They headline just 14 players that are under par out of the 150 golfers this week in Virginia.

Tied for 16th place overall, Auburn just missed the morning wave of tee times and will once again go off the back at noon with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. One shot behind Penn State heading into the third round, the Tigers need to make up some ground in order to make the cut for the final day. The top 15 teams come back for the fourth round and that's Auburn's goal heading into Thursday's action.


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