Hot Tiger Team Racks Up Honors

With a senior threatening all-time school records and other Tigers playing well, the Auburn men's golf team is on the move up the national rankings.

Auburn, Ala.--Senior Kevin Haefner and sophomore Lee Williams, who led the Tigers to the SEC Men's Golf Championship, have been selected first team All-SEC.

In addition, Mike Griffin was named SEC Coach of the Year after leading the Tigers to their first league men's golf title since 1981. It was just the third ever for the Tigers, who are curently 10th nationally in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.

"I couldn't be happier for both Kevin and Lee," Griffin says. "As for my award, that just shows if you hang around long enough, anything is possible."

Coach Mike Griffin

Williams tied for fifth at the SEC Championship at Sea Island, Ga., while Haefner, who is Auburn's No. 1 player for the entire season, finished 12th.

Haefner has a 71.28 strokes per round average, which is the second best single season mark in school history. Buddy Gardner, a former PGA touring pro, set the record at 70.90 in 1976. With a strong finish he could move up into the number one spot and the same is true for career stroke average. His current mark is 73.3. Iain Steel (1993-95) holds that record at 72.80.

Williams has a stroke scoring average this season, too. He is averaging just 71.89 shots per round.

Lee Williams

Griffin says the duo provides the best one-two punch for the Tigers since 1995 when Steel won the SEC Golfer of the Year award and Chip Spratlin won the NCAA individual title.

"This is the hardest working team I have ever coached and that is saying a lot because I have been around a lot of hard-working teams," Griffin says. "I can't say enough about Kevin and Lee because they are the kingpins of our success this year. They put in a tremendous amount of work preparing for competition and it shows. I am very proud of both of them."

The Tigers have won two of their last three tournaments, taking the team titles at their own Billy Hitchcock event and at the SEC Championship. Auburn shot 857 to win the league title, which was seven strokes better than Florida and nine better than Georgia.

Camilio Vegas of Florida was named SEC Golfer of the Year and David Skinns was selected as SEC Freshman of the Year. The other first team All-SEC picks are Ryan Hyble of Georgia, John Holmes of Kentucky, Brant Snedeker of Vandy, Villegas and Camilio Benedetti of Florida and Skinns of Tennessee.

Kevin Haefner

The Tigers return to action for a two-day event this week at The Atlanta Intercollegiate at Eagles Landing Golf Club. Competition will run on Thursday and Friday in the final tuneup for the NCAA Regional, which will be played May 16-18 at Ansley Golf Club's Settin Down Creek course in Roswell, Ga. "Settin Down Creek is where we hoped to be invited," Griffin says. "It is a tough course. So is the course we are playing on this week at Eagles Landing. It is the same course where Courtney Swaim from our women's team played in the LPGA Tournament last weekend."

The NCAA Men's Golf Championships are May 29-June 1 at the Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio.

The No. 1 ranked women's golf team will play at the NCAA East Regionals May 9-11 at the University Club Golf Course in Baton Rouge, La., where the Tigers won the LSU/Cleveland Classic on April 5-7. The NCAA Women's Championships are May 21-24 at the Washington National Golf Club in Auburn, Wash.

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