WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The No. 19 Auburn men’s golf team fired a 1-under 287 and is in a three-way tie for third at 3-over 579 with No. 5 Florida and host Purdue after the NCAA West Lafayette, Ind., Regional second round on Tuesday at the Kampen Course.
Auburn has a five-shot cushion ahead of No. 8 Illinois, who is in sixth. The top five teams and one individual not on those teams qualify for the 121st NCAA Men’s Golf Championship at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., May 26-31.
Freshman Jovan Rebula turned in another spectacular round with a 2-under 70 and is tied for seventh individually at 2-under 142. Rebula carded four birdies at Nos. 1, 3, 7 and 16 and had a pair of pars on the difficult two finishing holes at Nos. 17, a 206-yard par 3, and 18, a 475-yard par 4, both into the wind that reached between 12-20 mph.
“I’m very pleased with my round today,” said Rebula. “I really started hitting the ball well. On this golf course, you need to keep it in play because the rough is absolutely brutal. I made some really good up and downs.
“This golf course can really screw with your mind. Staying strong mentally was big for me today. Making two big pars on the last two finishing holes was big for me. I think they are two of the toughest holes we play and coming into the wind as well.”
Senior All-SEC Matt Gilchrest is tied for 13th at even par after a 2-under 70 with four birdies at Nos. 2, 4, 10 and 14. Sophomore Jacob Solomon is tied for 19th at 74-72—146 with three second round birdies at Nos. 3, 13 and 16.
“The guys played well today and were steady all day,” said Auburn head coach Nick Clinard. “We were steady all day and made some birdies. We made a few management mistakes on 15, but overall, we competed.
“I’m really proud of them. They hit a lot of good shots. It was good to do what they did with our horse, our All-SEC player, not playing well today. It shows a lot of courage, and we are looking forward to tomorrow.”
Sophomore All-SEC Trace Crowe is tied for 58th at 10-over 72-82—154 while senior Ryan Benton had a 3-over 75 rebounding from an opening round 83 and is tied for 71st.
New Mexico leads at 6-under 288-282—570 ahead of No. 17 UNLV (287-286—573), No. 19 Auburn (292-287—579), No. 5 Florida (292-287—579), Purdue (292-287—579).
“A lot of wind out there today,” said Clinard. “Downwind, knocks the spin on the ball, changes the trajectories. Nos. 17 and 18 are just beast holes coming down the stretch into the wind. Our guys hung tough and played those holes outstanding.”
No. 8 Illinois is five shots off the cutline at 8-over 288-296—584 followed by Augusta (296-290—586), St. Mary’s (294-296—590), South Carolina (291-302—593), Richmond (297-306—603), Campbell (306-300—606), Cleveland State (310-299—609) and Colorado (304-308—612).
Illinois State’s Trent Wallace holds the individual lead at 6-under while UNLV’s Shintaro Ban and New Mexico’s Andrej Bevins are tied for second at 5-under.
Auburn will tee off in Wednesday’s final round of the NCAA Regional at 7:50 am ET off No. 1 with Purdue and No. 8 Illinois. Winds are forecast to gust at 35 mph.
“I can tell you two things,” said Clinard. “We are going to go out there and compete, and we are going to have more fun than anybody else out there. This is what you practice for all of the time.
Auburn is one of seven teams in the nation … Florida State, Georgia, Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas and Southern California the others … who have made at least five-straight NCAA Championship appearances.
Live-scoring can be followed at Golfstat.com.