Atlanta, Ga.--Needing a strong round to get into the top eight and earn a spot in the match play portion of the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship, the Auburn Tigers fired a round of five-underpar 275, but missed the cut line by four shots at the Capital City Club on Thursday.
Finishing 54 holes at six over par for the tournament, Auburn’s season ends with a 13th place finish at the Capital City Club Crabapple Course.
“We knew we had to put some red numbers up there today,” Auburn Coach Nick Clinard told Inside The Auburn Tigers. “We made a lot of birdies on the front side, which was our back nine today. We just came up a few shots short. We didn’t close on the last couple of holes.”
Dominic Bozzelli continued his stellar play for the week as the senior fired a bogey-free round of 66 (-4) to finish at -6 overall. That earned him a second place finish overall with Max Homa from California taking home the individual title at -9.
Michael Johnson is shown in action in Atlanta.
Niclas Carlsson and Michael Johnson each posted one-under-par rounds of 69 to keep the Tigers in the hunt.
Michael Hebert’s round of 73 could have been much better. Sitting at even par with three holes remaining, Hebert had a double bogey on his 16th hole and a bogey on his final hole. Those three strokes, along with a bogey by Johnson on his last hole, were the difference in Auburn qualifying for a playoff for the final qualifying spot. Freshman Jay Mondy finished off the scoring for the Tigers with a 72.
“We were plus-two with roughly three holes to go,” Clinard said. “We had a double bogey on number seven and two bogeys on the last hole. It was a tough hole. That obviously cost us the chance to get into match play, but the real problem was the first round. That put us behind the eight ball. Outside of California we played better than anybody else in the field the last two days.”
It came as no surprise that the Cal Bears continue to dominate the field as they earned the top seed in the match-play portion of the tournament by finishing the 54 holes at -16. Georgia Tech (-10), Alabama (-7), Texas (-7), Illinois (-5) also secured a spot in match play with New Mexico, Texas A&M, UNLV, and Arizona State all finishing at +2 and in a playoff for three spots.
Texas A&M appeared to have a spot wrapped up, but a slow-play penalty on the Aggies’ Tyler Dunlap put them into a tie for the last spot. It proved to be costly as the SEC team lost in a playoff to finish outside the top eight spots.
Arkansas (+3) just missed out on the playoff for the eighth-spot while Oklahoma and Florida State (+5) both finished a shot ahead of Auburn in a tie for 11th place.
For Auburn it was too little, too late on Thursday as the Tigers couldn’t climb out of a 27th place finish following day one. While his team didn’t earn the final chance to compete for the title, Clinard noted the way they finished earned some respect.
“They are very resilient,” the coach said. “They played a lot of hard golf courses this year. They have been one of the best final round teams I have coached in a long time. It showed a lot of heart and showed our tenacity.”
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