Auburn men’s golf opens NCAA Regional play Monday

AUBURN, Ala. ( – The No. 8 Auburn men’s golf team opens play in the NCAA Tuscaloosa, Ala., Regional at Ol’ Colony Golf Complex Monday through Wednesday. The Tigers are the No. 2 seed in the 13-team field that has four of the nation’s top 19 teams in the Golfstat rankings.

The top five teams and one individual not on those teams qualify for the 120th NCAA Men’s Golf Championship in Eugene, Ore., at The Eugene Country Club May 27-June 1.

First-team All-SEC, Ben Hogan Award and Jack Nicklaus Award semifinalist Michael Johnson will play in the No. 1 position for the Tigers. All-SEC Matt Gilchrest will play in the No. 2 slot with All-American Ben Schlottman at No. 3. Freshman All-SEC Jacob Solomon occupies the No. 4 spot while Will Long returns to the lineup for the first time since the Schenkel Invitational in March at No. 5.

“I think it is a great site for us, and the golf course should be good,” said Auburn head coach Nick Clinard. “We are very familiar with the grasses and weather. It is close to home and playing in our home state and environment is a positive.

“It’s tough with five SEC teams. UNLV is a very good team as are both schools from Charleston. We are going to have to play well. Our guys have been playing well, and we look sharp and are ready to go.”

The Tigers are making their 25th overall NCAA Regional appearance in the last 27 years as seventh-year head coach Nick Clinard has led the Tigers to seven-straight NCAA Regionals while advancing to five-straight NCAA Championships. Auburn had its fourth best NCAA Championship finish in history last year by finishing 12th.

The Tuscaloosa Regional teams in order of seeding include No. 5 Georgia, No. 8 Auburn, No. 17 South Carolina, No. 19 Alabama, UNLV, Kentucky, Kansas, College of Charleston, Lipscomb, Charleston Southern, Colorado, Harvard and SIU-Carbondale.

It is Auburn’s fourth NCAA Regional in the state of Alabama, but the first in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers played in Auburn in the previous three in the state in 1993 at Grand National and 2003 and 2014 at the Auburn University Club.

Individuals in the Tuscaloosa Regional include Maryland’s David Kocher and Tom Harris, Ole Miss’ Braden Thornberry, Chattanooga’s Wes Gosselin, Wofford’s Andrew Novak, Jacksonville’s Franck Medale, UCF’s Manuel Elvira, Charlotte’s Seth Gandy, South Alabama’s Peter Staalbo and Jacksonville’s David Wicks.

Ten SEC teams qualified for the NCAA Regionals, including Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Kentucky at Ol’ Colony Golf Complex in Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Florida and Arkansas at Blackwolf Run Meadow Valley Course in Kohler, Wis.; Texas A&M at Championship Course at UNM in Albuquerque, N.M.; Tennessee at Karsten Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.; and Vanderbilt and LSU at Vanderbilt Legends Club in Nashville, Tenn.

Auburn has four tournament wins this year in the Carpet Capital Collegiate, U.S. Collegiate Championship, Mobile Sports Authority Intercollegiate and Seminole Intercollegiate while All-SEC first-team selection Johnson has won a school record three tournaments this season and currently has the lowest single season stroke average in school history at 70.06, which ranks second in the SEC and seventh nationally.

Auburn will tee off at 8:12 am in Sunday’s practice round while opening the first round on Monday off No. 1 at 8 am Central with Georgia and South Carolina.

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