Men's Golf Looking For Strong Regional Play

Blayne Barber

Auburn is the top seed at the 14-team Greensboro Regional as the Tigers hope to advance to the NCAA Men's Golf National Championships later this month.

Auburn, Ala.—The first step in Auburn's quest to win a national championship in men's golf starts this weekend at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C., as the Tigers enter the 14-team field at the Greensboro Regional the top overall seed following a strong 2012 season. With four ranked teams in the field including #15 UNLV, #18 Florida, and #19 Duke, the third-ranked Tigers are making their 21st regional appearance in the last 23 years and the third in three years under Coach Nick Clinard.

"It is a great feeling to be the number one seed," Clinard said. "The guys have really worked hard. I am proud of them. We are looking forward to getting to Greensboro and competing."

While competing and finishing among the top five teams in the regional is the main goal in the three days of completion that begin on Thursday, Clinard said the team has worked really hard heading into the regional and he believes it will pay off this week for his team. The ultimate goal is to win and build some positive momentum heading into the NCAA Championships he said.

Junior Blayne Barber, who leads the SEC in scoring average at 70.66, claims the top spot for the Tigers this weekend. The All-American and Ben Hogan Award Semifinalist is on pace to break the 36-year old Auburn scoring record which was set by Buddy Gardner in 1976.

Senior Will McCurdy will play in the No. 2 spot after coming off a very successful regular season where he finished second on the team in scoring average at 72.00. The second-team All-SEC member has placed in the top-20 five times this season including a fourth place finish at the Hootie at Bulls Bay.

Sophomore Niclas Carlsson will compete in the third spot after finishing the season with three top-10 finishes, including a win at the Hootie at Bulls Bay. Carlsson is fourth on the team in scoring average at 72.26 and was named to the second team All-SEC this season.

Dominic Bozzelli will be the No. 4 player for the Tigers with a scoring a scoring average of 72.06. Earlier this season the second-team All-SEC performer became the first Auburn golfer in history to win back-to-back tournaments after winning medalist honors at the U.S. Collegiate and Gator Invitational.

Coming off a tie for seventh finish at the SEC Championship, freshman Michael Johnson rounds out the Tigers' regional lineup. Johnson, who was named to the All-Freshman SEC Team, has compiled five top-20 finishes on the season.

With a team full of talented players, Clinard said one of the toughest jobs he's faced this season is narrowing down his roster to the five players that will be going to the regional. He said one of the positives he sees for his team entering the three days of play is having a good mix of veterans such as Barber and McCurdy to lean on and also some talented young players that aren't afraid to step up in competition such as Johnson.

The rest of the field in Greensboro is comprised of Indiana, Liberty (Big South), SMU, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Lamar, Louisiana-Lafayette, Charlotte, George Washington (Atlantic 10), and Mount St. Mary's (Northeast Conference). The top five teams advance to the 116th NCAA Men's Golf Championships to be played May 29-June3 at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Cal.

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