March 12, 2013
Each week, AuburnTigers.com will take a look at a different personality from Auburn Athletics. This blog will take a look at the various perspectives of student-athletes, coaches and administrators. In this entry, head men's golf coach Nick Clinard takes you inside a trip with the nationally ranked Auburn golf team as they logged their second tournament win of the season. Enjoy his insights and join us again for another edition next week.
By Nick Clinard
In mid-February, the team got its first win of the spring season in just our second tournament played. With the upcoming trip to the Samford Intercollegiate, we were looking to build on that previous win at the Mobile Classic. The two-day, 54-hole tournament was to be played at Hoover Country Club on Monday and Tuesday, March 4-5.
We came in on Saturday to get ready to travel. We had a nice practice in the afternoon at our facility before departing in the team van. We've been really concentrating on improving our techniques and short games. The trip was easy and just a short drive up HWY 280. Once we checked in our hotel, we headed out for dinner at Bonefish which is definitely one of the team's favorite places to eat! After a nice dinner and a brief team meeting at the hotel it was off to bed to get some rest for the next day.
On Sunday, we played a practice round at the Hoover Country Club. We left the hotel around 9:15 a.m. Once we arrived, we stretched out, hit some balls and a few putts before heading to the first tee. I'm always on the guys about stretching as it's like brushing your teeth, should happen twice every day! The practice round temps were chilly with some wind which made the golf course seem sneaky hard.
The greens were excellent and very, very fast with many undulations. Control of the iron game and short game was at a premium this tournament. We ate lunch on the go. The guys are always asking about food. I sure wish I was that age again and could eat all the time! After the practice round we had a short, functional practice session and headed back to the hotel to get ready for the tournament dinner. The dinner was fantastic and the guest speaker was Stephen Bunn from College Golf Fellowship. Stephen is a good friend and it's always great to hear his message. Great stuff!
Monday was an early morning wake-up call at 5:30 a.m. But once we arrived at Hoover CC we were told there would be a one-hour frost delay. The guys stayed in the van an extra 30 minutes and hung out together before heading out to stretch and go through their warm-up routine. The temps were chilly and the wind was blowing, so scoring conditions were slightly tougher than normal. After the first round we were four strokes off the lead set by Vanderbilt. We were only able to complete 30 to 31 holes due to the late start and darkness setting in.
As soon as we finished we jumped in the van and headed back to the hotel. The guys were starving after a long day on the course, so Coach Osteen and I headed to Outback to pick them up a solid take-out dinner. The guys love doing take-out on the long days, so they can shower and get some rest. Once the food was delivered we had a brief team meeting to discuss the course, conditions and the plan for the completion of the second round and start of the final round. They definitely enjoyed the food and then hit the pillow quickly afterwards.
We left the hotel early once again on Tuesday, as we met at the van 6:15 a.m. and headed to breakfast. Then we went to the course to stretch, warm-up and prepare mentally/physically for another long day on the course. The guys came out excited to compete and it showed quickly. We finished the second round strong and shot even par for the day. We were now five back of Vanderbilt, but we knew with the wind starting to blow that it was anyone's tournament. The previous night we discussed the weather conditions for the final round, so they knew the wind would pick to 20mph plus and they were prepared for it.
The final 18-holes were a grind and the guys played the best round of the week in the toughest conditions. We ended up shooting 2-under in the final round and winning the tournament by 11 shots. The guys were pumped about their second win a row and third on the year. We made 59 birdies on the week, but we were definitely sloppy around the greens and with our short irons. Another great win for the team, but much work to continue to do to accomplish our lofty goals as a team. We jumped in the van after the awards ceremony and headed to grab some food at another one of the team's favorite dining spots...Chipotle. These guys sure can eat! After Chipotle, we headed back to Auburn with the trophy in our hands!