No. 9 Auburn Earns 11th Straight Regular Season Top Three
Sept. 18, 2011
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. - The ninth-ranked Auburn men's golf team (287-865) earned its 11th-consecutive regular season top-three finish Sunday, tying for second with a 7-over final round at the Olympia Fields Intercollegiate.
The Tigers finished the tournament at 25-over, trailing only No. 12 Stanford (290-849) who led the 15-team event wire-to-wire. Auburn entered Sunday eight shots back of second-ranked Oklahoma State but would eventually tie the 10-time national champions by the end of the day.
"We knew this was going to be a tough field coming in," said Auburn head coach Nick Clinard. "We wanted to put ourselves in the situation to compete against some of the best in the country. We did that and are happy with the result. This was a very challenging course. We did a great job managing our games and minimizing mistakes."
In all, the Tigers defeated four top-10 and seven top-25 teams including No. 3 Alabama (284-867), No. 5 Texas (294-873), No. 7 Florida (291-880) and No. 8 Duke (298-893). The result is on the heels of the Tigers' season-opening win at the Carpet Capital Collegiate where Auburn bested five top-20 teams.
With the result, Auburn has earned six wins, zero losses and one draw against top-10 competition through the 2011-12 season's first two events.
"We have a team of very experienced players who are becoming more and more confident in their game every week," said Clinard. "We're definitely happy with the start we have had so far this season and are excited about the rest of the year."
Auburn junior and 2011 Walker Cup selection Blayne Barber (72-215) led the Tigers as an individual, tying for seventh at 5-over par. After a shaky opening nine, Barber fought his way back into the top-10 as the round progressed, carding three back-nine birdies to return to 2-over on the day.
Sophomore Niclas Carlsson (71-217) and true freshman Michael Johnson (71-217) tied for 15th at 7-over par. Johnson, a native of Birmingham, Ala., has kicked off his collegiate career with back-to-back top-20s after tying for 19th at the Carpet Capital.
Johnson joins Carlsson as the first Auburn golfers to start their careers with top-20s since Jimmy Green in 1988. Carlsson opened last year with a tie for 12th at the Gary Koch followed by a win at the Jerry Pate National.
Green placed ninth at both the LSU Invitational and the U.S. Intercollegiate to start the 1988-89 season.
Junior Dominic Bozzelli (73-219) tied for 23rd at 9-over par followed by senior Will McCurdy (77-220) tied for 25th at 10-over. McCurdy led the Tigers through the opening two rounds of play with rounds of 71 and 72.
Alabama placed fourth followed by Texas, Florida State (291-874), Florida, No. 13 Illinois (295-883), Notre Dame (294-883), No. 22 Augusta State (305-890), No. 20 Ohio State (301-890), Indiana (305-892), Duke, Arizona State (297-897) and Northwestern (295-907).
Stanford's Patrick Rogers claimed individual medalist honors shooting rounds of 68, 70 and 68 to come in at 4-under par.
The Tigers return to action October 3-4 for the Jerry Pate National held at Old Overton Golf Club in Birmingham, Ala. The Tigers will look to defend their 2010 team and individual titles at the event.
The Tigers are now 6-0-1 against top-10 and 12-1-1 against top-25 compeition this season.
Michael Johnson in 2011-12 and Niclas Carlsson in 2010-11 are the first two Auburn golfers to start their careers with top-20s since Jimmy Green in 1988. Green placed ninth at both the LSU Invitational and the U.S. Intercollegiate to start the 1988-89 season.
Auburn's 11 straight regular season top-three finishes is a school record.
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