"It is an absolutely beautiful course and it is in excellent condition," Griffin tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "They had lots of rain last week and the course was pretty soft. It was a little bit firmer today and with the forecast it looks like it will continue to get firmer during the week. By the end of the tournament we could have a very fast track."
Sunriver, located near the city of Bend, threw a surprise at the Tigers during a practice round. A hail shower completely covered the green and turned it white while they were trying to putt. "The hail was the size of finger nails," Griffin says. "That's not something we normally see back home. It was interesting, but it didn't last long. By the time we got to the next hole the hail had already melted."
The Tigers earned the trip cross country. They qualified to be one of 30 teams in the field by finishing eighth at the NCAA East Regional in Orlando, Fla., in very different conditions than the high desert climate of Oregon west of the Cascades mountain range.
"We hit the ball straight and I think this course will set up well from us if we play well," Griffin says.
Coach Mike Griffin
He notes that a key for the Tigers will be taking care of business near the greens. "This looks like a course where it will be very important that you chip and putt well. If we do that, we have a chance to have a good finish out here."
The Tigers, who are ranked 25th nationally, feature just one senior in the lineup. Stuart Moore, an All-SEC performer, has a team-leading 72.85 strokes per round average.
Joining him in the five-player lineup are junior Andrew Medley (73.30), freshman Glenn Northcutt (73.33), sophomore Jay Moseley and sophomore Patton Kizzire (74.25).
The Tigers will tee off at 10:37 a.m. CST (8:37) local time on Thursday.
Griffin says he hopes the Tigers will get off to a strong start Wednesday because the greens should be smoother in the morning and there is normally more wind on the course in the afternoon. The Tigers have the last tee time of the day on Thursday.
The field will be cut to 15 teams after 54 holes. The whole field, in order of seeding, includes No. 2 Oklahoma State, No. 16 Arizona, No. 1 Georgia, No. 3 Florida, No. 7 Arizona State, No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 12 Texas Tech, No. 11 Georgia Tech, No. 14 North Carolina, No. 10 BYU, No. 9 UNLV, No. 13 Wake Forest, No. 17 Northwestern, No. 22 Washington, No. 24 Coastal Carolina and No. 21 Lamar. North Carolina State is seeded 21st followed by No. 23 Charlotte, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Loyola Marymount, No. 25 Auburn, South Carolina, Pepperdine, Kentucky and Nevada.
The Tigers wrapped up their second practice round on Tuesday evening and then headed for a cookout with a local host family, which Griffin says was a very enjoyable evening in perfect weather, something he hopes will continue for the rest of the week.