SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Men’s Golf No. 13 Auburn kicked off the 2022-23 season with a 45-under win on Sunday at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate at the Mirabel Club.
“We’re beyond proud of these seven guys,” the Tigers head coach said. Nick Clinard said. “This victory was not easy. It was hard fought against an extremely talented group of schools. Our team unity and connectedness is phenomenal, and that has been such a big factor in our success this week. I’m excited to continue building and see how dangerous this group can be.”
Hardware isn’t the only thing the Tigers are leaving Scottsdale with, as three team program records have fallen en route to winning the title. Auburn’s first round 22 under broke the previous record (−19) from the 2008 John Burns Intercollegiate. Over 36 holes, the group then broke the next team record, posting a mark of 34 under to surpass the 2018 All-American Invitational team (-31) before finally setting a new benchmark of 54 holes after the third round, again beating the 2008. John Burns scores (-44) with a 45 under.
The Tigers held the team lead after the first and second rounds, but saw it slip away to fifth in Arizona State after the top nine in Sunday’s Finals. Three shots from first, Auburn rallied at the back half to pull off a major comeback and seal the victory. The push was led by junior JM Butler and second Evan Vo who combined for nine birdies on ten holes in total.
Amazingly, Butler has birdied each of his last five holes and seven of the last nine. His third-round 64 (-6) was just one stroke off his career low set a year ago at the same event.
“I’m really proud of the way we all played this week,” Butler said. “We have a very deep team that is going to be in the conversation in May. I played solid golf this week but couldn’t knock anything down. On the back nine today they finally started to fall “I knew I was capable and just wanted to help the team as much as possible. The coaching staff did a phenomenal job this week keeping us in the right frame of mind.
For Vo, it was a trio of birdies at 16, 17 and 18 that cemented his place as the team’s top finisher of the week. At 197 (-13), Vo scored the second top five of his career as well as a new personal low. The Austin, Texas native led the field of 90 competitors in the par-4 score, posting a 9-under rating for said holes.
“I played well this week, started to find a rhythm with my putting and kept looking for birdies,” Vo said. “As a team, we fed off each other and had a lot of fun making a bunch of birdies. We knew how well we were doing in this event, and that only adds to our trust.”
Birdies were certainly a friend of the Tigers as the team shot 75 over its 54 holes, the highest mark of any school in the tournament.
Another top tournament came in the first round via junior Ryan Eshleman. Eshleman posted a jaw-dropping 10-under 60 to finish the lowest round of the entire event and set Auburn’s new golf record for 18-hole scoring. The previous under-9 record was jointly held by Kyle Kopsick and Trace Crowe.
Eshleman had cards of 69 and 70 on Saturday and Sunday to finish tied for eighth and earn the first top-10 ranking of his career. The Birmingham, Alabama product was second in the birdie tally with 20 on the outing.
Junior Carson Bacha and senior Alex Vogelsong rounded out Auburn’s contingent, finishing at 9 under and 3 under respectively. Bacha recorded a new career low of 13 strokes while Vogelsong led the pack in pars made with 42.
Tennessee’s Caleb Surratt won the Maui Jim individual crown with a final score of 192 (-18).
Next, the Tigers will tackle the SEC Fall Preview from September 25-27 in Birmingham at Old Overton Golf Club.
|T3||Evan Vo||65 (-5)||67 (-3)||65 (-5)||197 (-13)|
|T8||Ryan Eshleman||60 (-10)||69 (-1)||70 (E)||199 (-11)|
|T11||Carson Bacha||64 (-6)||67 (-3)||70 (E)||201 (-9)|
|T21||JM Butler||72 (+2)||68 (-2)||64 (-6)||204 (-6)|
|T31||Alex Vogelsong||69 (-1)||66 (-4)||72 (+2)||207 (-3)|
|1||CREW||258 (-22)||268 (-12)||269 (-11)||795 (-45)|
1. No. 13 Auburn 795 (-45)
2. No. 5 Arizona State 800 (-40)
3. No. 19 Florida State 805 (-35)
4. No. 10 Georgia Tech 806 (-34)
5. No. 11 Washington 809 (-31)
6. No. 22 Tennessee 812 (-28)
7.RV Oregon 815 (-25)
8. San Diego State 816 (-24)
9. No. 25 Arizona 819 (-21)
10. No. 16 Wake Forest 821 (-19)
11. Louisville 831 (-9)
12. New Mexico 833 (-7)
13. No. 24 Clemson 833 (-7)
14. ETSU 835 (-5)
15. State of Georgia 841 (+1)
16. UNLV 845 (+5)
17.UCLA 848 (+8)
18. NC Status 855 (+15)