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Auburn men’s golf t-4th after NCAA Championship 2nd round

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SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – The No. 20 Auburn men’s golf team fired a 4-under 284 and is tied for fourth at 10-under with No. 4 Vanderbilt at Rich Harvest Farms on Saturday. Freshman Jovan Rebula led the Tigers, who are a shot ahead of No. 1 Southern California, with a bogey-free 3-under 69.

Matt Gilchrest and Jacob Solomon are tied for 19th at 3-under. Gilchrest carded four birdies for an even par round, including three birdies on the back nine at Nos. 11, 14 and 18 after his 69 on Friday.

Solomon, who was tied for second after a sensational 5-under first round 67, shot a 2-over 74 with an eagle on the par 5 seventh and a birdie on 14.

“There was a lot of wind today, and it was warmer and a lot of birdies to be had,” said Auburn head coach Nick Clinard. “We got off to kind of a shaky start and couldn’t get anything going. The guys had a lot of grit and a lot of grind out there and were able to get a couple of birdies coming in and shoot 4-under.”

Rebula, who is tied for 41st at 1-under, was solid with three birdies and was 2-under after the first four holes with birdies on Nos. 2 and 4. He made par the rest of the way until a birdie on the 18th.

“A bogey-free 3-under, you can never complain about that,” said Rebula. “I could have had a few more putts fall. If I had my putter today, I would have had a really awesome round. I hit the ball really, really well.

“Otherwise, it has been awesome the last two days. I’ve been hitting the ball nicely and just a couple of things didn’t go my way today. Most of it went my way, so never complaining with an under par score on this golf course.”

Trace Crowe is tied for 50th at even par with a 1-under 71 that featured four birdies, including three on the back, at Nos. 6, 11, 12 and 18. Ryan Benton is tied for 62nd at 1-over, shooting a second round 72 with four birdies at Nos. 2, 5, 13 and 16.

No. 16 UNLV leads at 14-under 283-279--562 followed by No. 17 Oklahoma (284-279—563), No. 8 Illinois (282-283—565), No. 20 Auburn (282-284—566), No. 4 Vanderbilt (278-288—566), No. 1 Southern California (284-283—567), No. 6 LSU (291-277—568) and No. 5 Baylor (288-280—568) to round out the top eight.

“Our team is doing well, and it is very pleasing to see our team up on the leaderboard,” said Rebula. “We are doing well this week, and our preparation was really phenomenal the last couple of weeks. We are really playing well, and I am excited to see what is coming up for this week.”

No. 3 Oklahoma State (282-287—569) is in ninth ahead of No. 18 Virginia (288-283—571), No. 24 Florida State (289-285—574), No. 14 Texas (293-283—576), No. 9 Oregon (294-282—576) and UCF (294-284—578) and Iowa State (293-285—578) in a tie for 14th.

The 30-team NCAA Championship field will be cut in half along with the low nine individuals not on those teams after Sunday. Those teams will be paired down to the final eight after Monday’s round to compete in match play. The NCAA Championship medalist will be determined Sunday.

No. 2 Stanford (293-287—580), Alabama (287-293-580) and North Carolina (293-287—580) are tied for 16th followed by No. 11 Kent State (289-293—582), No. 25 Pepperdine (289-293—582), No. 23 Arizona State (290-293—582), No. 22 Ole Miss (287-299—586), Jacksonville (294-296—590), No. 19 Duke (298-292—590), Lipscomb (300-291—591), New Mexico (297-295—592), Purdue (298-295—593), Penn State (301-294—595), Kennesaw State (297-300—597) and No. 15 Clemson (313-285—598).

Texas’ Scottie Scheffler holds the individual lead at 8-under 68-68—136, a shot ahead of a quartet at 7-under in Ole Miss’ Braden Thornberry, Vanderbilt’s Matthias Schwab, Southern California’s Justin Suh and Kent State’s Bjarki Petursson.

Auburn will tee off Sunday’s third round at 7:07 am CT on No. 1 with Vanderbilt and Southern California.

“It depends on the weather (in the third round),” said Clinard on the team moving forward. “If it is calm and stays soft, obviously we have to keep the gas down and keep making birdies. If it is windy, we need to do a little bit better job managing our game.”

The match play quarterfinals and semifinals both take place on Tuesday at 7 am and 1:30 pm, respectively. The NCAA Championship match is on Wednesday at 2:10 pm.

Golf Channel will televise the NCAA Championship live on Monday from 4-7 pm Central, Tuesday from 10:30 am -12:30 pm and 3:30-7 pm and Wednesday from 3-7 pm.

Auburn is one of only six teams to appear in six consecutive NCAA Championships. It is Auburn’s 22nd overall appearance.

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