Golfers Optimistic Heading Into NCAA Tourney

The Auburn men's golf team is looking for a strong finish to their 2012-13 season at the NCAA Championship event being held in Atlanta.

Atlanta, Ga.--The Auburn men's golf team will hit the links early on Tuesday as the Tigers open play in the NCAA Men's Golf Tournament.

Coach Nick Clinard's 19th-ranked Tigers will begin teeing off at 6 a.m. CDT at the Capital City Club's Crabapple Course along with 29 other teams who qualified at regional events around the country.

Auburn advanced to the nationals by finishing in a second place tie with South Carolina at the Columbus Regional on Ohio State's Scarlet Course. New Mexico won the tournament.

"We played well on a really tough course at the regional," AU coach Nick Clinard tells Inside the Auburn Tigers, adding that he hopes the momentum from a strong finish at the regional will carry over to the team's performance this week.

Other than practice rounds this week the Tigers will be playing the Crabapple Course for the first time as a team.

"We have just one guy on the team who has played there before, Michael Johnson," Clinard points out. "I have actually been there recruiting on several occasions. I think it is a really good golf course for us. It fits our games.

Coach Nick Clinard is shown with Michael Johnson (right).

"The tournament will be very well run with Georgia Tech hosting it," Clinard adds. "We are all looking forward to it."

Last week the Auburn women's golf team finished sixth at the national championship tournament in Athens, Ga., after 72 holes of competition in a 24-team field. The men's format is different.

The 30 men's teams will play 18 holes a day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The top eight teams will then participate in a match play tournament to determine the NCAA champion.

Dominic Bozzelli will line up at the No. 1 spot for the Tigers, says Clinard, who has high expectations for the senior All-American. "He is a great player," the coach says. "We look forward to him hopefully having a chance to win it all."

Bozzelli says he likes the way his team is hitting the ball going into their season's biggest event. "We all seem to be playing really well," he says. "I am just focusing on hitting the fairways and the greens. That is all you can do. I like our chances if we can put it all together. It is all about putting four good scores together." The best four scores are used to determine a team's total for a round.

Niclas Carlsson is shown at last year's nationals in California.

Johnson, a sophomore, will play in the No. 2 spot for the Tigers. Senior Michael Hebert is playing No. 3 with junior Niclas Carlsson at No. 4. Each of those players has earned All-SEC honors at least once.

Playing in the No. 5 spot is Jake Mondy, who was recently selected to the Freshman All-SEC squad.

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