No. 6 Auburn Claims Third Team Title Of The Season
April 10, 2011
Lexington, Ky. - The sixth-ranked Auburn men's golf team won its third tournament of the 2010-11 season Sunday, besting an 18-team field at the Bluegrass Invitational in Lexington, Ky.
The Tigers (289-868) finished the two-day, 54-hole event at 16-over, followed by tournament host Kentucky (298-876) at 24-over.
The win marks the first time since the 1996-97 season the Tigers have captured three events in a single season. The victory was the 55th in school history and the fifth team title under second-year head coach Nick Clinard.
Sophomore Dominic Bozzelli (72-215) earned the top collegiate finish of his career Sunday, tying for second at two-over. The Pittsford, N.Y. native opened with an opening round 67, also a career best.
"We played a solid back nine under some very windy conditions and made putts when we needed to," said Clinard. "It always feels good to come away with a victory and see all of the guys' hard work pay off. It was good to see Dominic play well. He's been working extremely hard. We have to continue working hard and maintain our focus with the post season right around the corner."
After starting the event on hole No. 2, the Tigers fired a three-over opening round, led by Bozzelli. Tournament host Kentucky trailed the Tigers by three strokes but would make their move during the second round.
After a lightning delay suspended round one for more than two hours, Saturday's second round was called due to darkness after 14 holes. The Tigers closed out the day with freshman Dan Stringfellow sinking a 30-foot eagle putt on 13, leaving the Tigers with a six-over, 30-hole total.
Auburn resumed play Sunday on hole No. 14 with Stringfellow draining a 15-footer for birdie, moving the team to 5-over on the tournament. The Tigers would finish the second round at 8-over and 11-over for tournament, with Kentucky taking a one-stroke advantage.
While the Tigers made the third round turn with a solid 2-over par against continued windy conditions, Kentucky moved into an eight-stroke advantage. The Wildcats were five-under through the opening nine, compliments of two eagles and three birdies on the par-5, No. 7.
It was all Auburn from there on as the Tigers dropped the hammer on the final nine holes. Auburn hit its stride, shooting even-par through the opening six holes while the Wildcats struggled.
Auburn reclaimed its lead with four holes to go, taking a three stroke advantage over the Wildcats.
The Tigers would only lose three strokes to the remaining four holes while Kentucky hit an eight-stroke slide, sealing the win for the Tigers.
Although Bozzelli failed to find his rhythm in the second 18, he returned to form for Sunday's final round, shooting a 1-over, 72, and nearly forcing a playoff for medalist honors.
"Got off to a hot start Saturday," said Bozzelli. "I was trusting the reads and felt confident in the putter all three rounds. The conditions were tough. Holes 17 and 18 killed me all weekend. I was nine-over on those holes, but I felt like I played good enough to win. You play to win the game, but it was nice to see some results start to show. It was fun to play well."
Bozzelli hit five putts over 20 feet in Saturday play, including two from over 40 feet.
Freshman Dan Stringfellow (72-217) also earned his top collegiate finish Sunday, tying for fifth at four-over. Junior John Stembridge (72-218) made his first 2010-11 appearence for the Tigers, tying for 7th at five-over. The Norcross, Ga., native returned to Lexington as the 2010 Bluegrass Invitational winner.
Akron (293-878), Toledo (303-892), Marshall (312-892), Michigan State (295-894), Dayton (297-896), Bowling Green (309-901), Western Carolina (301-903), Eastern Kentucky (299-907), Valparaiso (315-908), Ohio (314-909), Morehead State (304-912), Cincinatti (305-912), Western Kentucky (304-914), Utah Valley (312-916), Loyola-Chicago (310-928) and Lipscomb (320-939).
Dayton's Chris Woeste (67-213) carded the only sub-par round in Sunday's final 18, claiming medalist honors at even par.
The Tigers return to action April 15-17 at the 2011 SEC Championships in Sea Island, Ga.
Complete Bluegrass Invitational information can be accessed via www.UKAthletics.com.
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