A lack of depth in the lineup sent the No. 4 Auburn men’s golf team home early from the NCAA Championships at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., on Thursday.
Both Blayne Barber and Dominic Bozzelli did plenty enough to get the Tigers into the eight-team match play tournament that starts today. Barber finished seventh at even-par, and Bozzelli finished in a tie for 13th at 2-over.
But the other three golfers combined to shoot 26-over, lifting Auburn’s score to 28-over for the week and a 15th-place finish.
Alabama, UCLA, Texas, California, San Diego State, Washington, Oregon and Kent State advanced to the match-play tournament.
“We got off to a good start in the first round, but the last two days we just didn’t play well,” said Clinard. “We didn’t get a lot of production from our three, four and five guys. Blayne and Dominic played great as expected, and the other guys just didn’t have their A-game this week.”
Barber’s performance capped off one of the best seasons an Auburn golfer has ever played. Playing consistent golf all year, Barber shot a 70.75 average to break the Tigers’ 36-year-old scoring record, set by Buddy Gardner in 1976. He also won back-to-back tournaments, the first time in school history that a golfer has accomplished the feat.
As a team, Auburn won three tournaments, stayed in the national top-5 all the way to the end and will likely earn Barber and Bozzelli both All-America honors.
“It is probably the best year that Auburn golf has ever had,” said Clinard. “In having three wins and only finishing one tournament outside of the top three before this week out of 12 tournaments is pretty special.”