Tigers Looking For Strong NCAA Showing

West Lafayette, Ind.--The No. 16 Auburn men's golf team will make its 16th appearance at the NCAA Championships this week when they take aim at the par-72, 7,462-yard Kampen Course in West Lafayette, Ind., Wednesday through Saturday as the 11th seed in a field that includes 16 teams ranked in the Golfweek top-25.

The Auburn Tigers will be looking for their first title despite several strong performances over the years. Lately though Auburn's appearances at the NCAA's have been disappointing as the Tigers finished 30th last season and 19th the year before in 2006. The last Top 10 for Auburn came back in 2003, an eighth-place finish led by Lee Williams. This time around Auburn takes one of the most experienced teams in the country into the competition led by Jay Moseley.

The All-SEC senior has a team-best 71.39 stroke average and has led all Tigers in seven events on the season. All-SEC junior Glenn Northcutt, who has a 72.13 stroke average and tied for eighth at the NCAA East Regional, will play in the No. 2 position. All-SEC senior Patton Kizzire (72.93) leads all Tigers in rounds counted (26/27) and will play No. 3 followed by seniors Gordon Strother (72.46) at No. 4 and Steven Groover (74.25) at No. 5.

The Tigers, who were seeded sixth at the NCAA East Regional, advanced to the Championship by finishing sixth at the Council Fire Golf Club in Chattanooga, Tenn., May 15-17. Coach Mike Griffin said his team is pumped about the opportunity to play for the title this week.

"We are excited to be in the Championship," Griffin said. "This is always an exciting time of year - getting that one last tournament out of your season and taking on the top teams in the nation. As always this is going to be a strong field with a good number of teams capable of making a run for the title. Seven of the top-10 teams going into regionals made it through to Indiana.

"We were up here for the Boilermaker Invitational last season so we are familiar with this course. It's going to be long and windy. All five of our guys made the trip last year and performed well despite the weather we had. This time we're hoping it won't be as cold as it was for the Boilermaker."

The 30-team NCAA Championship field in order of seeding includes No. 3 USC, No. 1 Georgia, No. 17 Wake Forest, No. 5 Oklahoma State, No. 14 Clemson, No. 7 Florida, No. 4 UCLA, UAB, No. 2 Alabama, No. 6 Stanford, No. 16 Auburn, No. 8 Charlotte, No. 18 Texas A&M, No. 20 East Tenn. State, No. 24 Indiana, Oregon, Augusta State, UC-Irvine, Illinois, No. 23 Louisville, Mississippi State, Washington, St. Mary's, No. 19 Arizona State, Kent State, Penn State, San Diego State, Texas, Middle Tenn. State and Virginia.

The field will be cut to the low 15 teams and six individuals after 54 holes.

Auburn will open first round play on Wednesday at 1:17 p.m. and will be paired through the first two rounds of play with defending national champion Stanford and Charlotte. James Green, head coach of the Charlotte men's golf team, served as an assistant under Griffin for two season ('97-'98).The same teams will be paired in the second round, teeing off the 10th tee at 8:07 am Thursday. The third and fourth round pairings Friday and Saturday will be determined by scores.


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