AUBURN – The No. 8 Auburn men’s golf team earned the No. 2 seed in the 13-team NCAA Tuscaloosa, Ala., Regional at Ol’ Colony Golf Complex May 16-18.  Four of the nation’s top 19 teams in the Golfstat rankings are in the Tuscaloosa Regional.

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.

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.

“I am really excited we get to play in our own state,” said Clinard. “In the beauty of our sport, the challenges are we get to play a really good Alabama team on their own golf course and playing against Georgia, who is arguably the best team in the country. We hope to go there and meet the challenge and make some noise nationally.”

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.

“There are five SEC teams which I think is kind of unusual for the balance of power,” said Clinard. “I think it is great. We have a lot of great coaches in the league and a lot of the players are friends with each other. It will be great competition, and that is why you play the game.”

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, Tennessee.

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 Michael 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. Jacob Solomon earned Freshman All-SEC honors with a 71.85 stroke average.

Auburn will tee off at 8:12 am in the Sunday, May 15 practice round while opening the first round on Monday, May 16 off No. 1 at 8 a.m.

-Special to the T-J

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