Golfers Ready To Say Goodbye Columbus

Columbus, Ohio--The ninth-ranked Auburn Tigers played perhaps their worst tournament of the season at the NCAA Men's Golf Championship and never seriously threatened for the title.

The Southeastern Conference champions had their poorest round of the four-day event on a foggy Saturday at the Scarlet Course on the campus of Ohio State University. With the best individual round of the day a three-over-par 74 by senior Kevin Haefner, the Tigers were 22-over-par for the day. Haefner was also the leading individual for Auburn, finishing at eight-over-par at the four-day competition. His total of 292 put him in a tie for 74th.

Auburn's 306 total on Saturday was five shots worse than its Friday score. The Tigers opened with rounds of 288 and 287 in the 72-hole event and were still in contention, but Auburn finished in 28th place at the 30-team field.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers were the surprise winners, charging in the final round with a six-under-par total to finish four strokes ahead of No. 1-ranked Georgia Tech. Minnesota was the only team under par with an 1,134 total that was two-under.

The Golden Gophers, who were ranked 22nd nationally entering the tournament, were fourth after three rounds.

While Auburn and the other teams in the NCAA field were saying goodbye to Columbus, the University of Minnesota golf teams may be saying goodbye to intercollegiate competition. In a cost-cutting measure, UM announced earlier this year it was eliminating both the men's and women's golf program. That decision has caused controversy in Minneapolis and the decision to kill golf will likely be even more unpopular with the men's national team title in the trophy case.

Georgia Tech shot 1,138 while second-ranked Clemson and Texas tied for third at 1,142. Auburn's total of 1,182 was 48 strokes off the pace.

Troy Matteson of Georgia Tech won the individual title with an eight-under-par 276 total. He finished with a 67 on Saturday. Adam Rubinson of TCU was second, one shot off the pace, after shooting a final round 69.

It was a rough tournament for SEC teams. Florida was the top finisher from the league at 1,152, which tied the Gators for 11th place with TCU and Washington.

Jay Mundy had the second best score for the Tigers on Saturday with a 75. He finished nine-over-par 293 to tie for 80th place.

Jonathon Dismuke shot a 78 to finish at 23-over-par for the tournament. He was in 151st place at 305.

Lee Williams shot a 79 on Saturday to finish at 13-over-par for the tournament after opening with two strong rounds of 73 and 69 on the par 71 course. Williams was in 111st place with his 297 total.

Will Claxton shot an 81, Auburn's worst round of the event, to finish at 26-over-par for 72 holes. He finished 155th in the 156-player field with a total of 310.

"We just had a tough time the final two days," Auburn coach Mike Griffin said. "We still had an outstanding year and I am proud of that."

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