Rainy Start For SEC Champs At NCAA Golf

Columbus, Ohio--Only half the teams finished play in the opening round of the NCAA Men's Golf Tournament on Wednesday. Auburn, which was one 15 squads that completed its round, struggled to a four-over-par 288 total and is in 17th place.

"We definitely got off to a slow start, but I am proud of the guys with the way they brought it back," Auburn coach Mike Griffin said.

The Tigers are well off the pace set by Illinois, which is nine-under-par through nine holes. Georgia Tech, which is the nation's top-ranked team, is eight-under-par through nine holes.

The Tigers played in the rain and had to wait through an hour-long weather delay. "This is only day one of the tournament so we have a long way to go," Griffin added. "We had an outstanding round considering where we were after six holes."

The Tigers quickly jumped to eight-over-par on the 7,236-yard Scarlet Course on the campus of Ohio State University before making a comeback.

Senior Kevin Haefner, who opened with a pair of bogeys as Auburn started on the back nine, recovered to shoot a one-under-par 70. Birdies on 15, 3, 5 and 6 helped him charge back under par after going plus three after six holes.

Junior Jay Mundy shot a 72 for the second best score for the SEC champions.

Sophomore Lee Williams made bogey on four of his first six holes, but bounced back with birdies at 16, 3 and 5 to finish at 73. Sophomore Jonathan Dismuke shot 73 and junior Will Claxton's score of 76 was not counted in the team total. Only the four best rounds are counted each day in the event that will run for four days and 72 holes.

The Tigers are scheduled to tee off at 2:18 p.m. CDT for Thursday's second round.

Auburn is sixth of the 15 teams that have finished the first round. Washington, at five-under-par, is in third place while North Carolina (-4) is next. Ben Portie of Colorado is the leader at five-under-par among players who have completed 18 holes. All 30 teams will play all four rounds with no cut after 36 holes.

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