Auburn rallies into top seed for match play
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. --- Auburn did not face any drama in claiming the stroke play portion of the Southeastern Conference Men's Golf Championship on Friday at Sea Island Golf Club, but the medalist title was a different story.
The Tigers were a dominant force during stroke play, posting a final tally of 24-under 816, including a 5-under 275 (the only red number in the final round) on Friday. Auburn earned the top seed for the weekend match play by finishing 16 strokes clear of second-place Vanderbilt.
"The guys really played great and proved that they can win a stroke play tournament, and that was something we really wanted to do," Auburn head coach Nick Clinard said. "We did that and we're proud of it, but now we've got to get our minds right for match play. We've got to be ready to go Saturday morning."
Auburn will take on No. 8 seed South Carolina in the quarterfinals. The other matchups will be No. 2 Vanderbilt against No. 7 Arkansas, No. 3 Texas A&M against No. 6 Georgia, and No. 4 Kentucky against No. 5 Tennessee.
Auburn's surge to the top seed was triggered by Jovan Rebula and Graysen Huff, who finished regulation knotted at 8-under 202. To break the tie and crown the medalist, Rebula and Huff played four extra holes, with the competition ending on the third pass on the par-4 18th as Rebula made birdie after Huff nearly holed out for eagle from the fairway.
"This is a true honor," said Rebula, who closed with a 3-under 67 on Friday. "Coming from South Africa, I did not what the SEC was until I started playing and seeing the amount of great players. To have my name on that board is truly an honor. ... It is a little bittersweet because Graysen and I are close friends. I have a ton of respect for him for his golf and as a person. He's a great leader for our team. He always does the right thing. He's a great friend and an unbelievable teammate."
The Tigers also registered a 1-under 69 by Trace Crowe, who finished sixth at 4-under 206, and an even-par Jacob Solomon, who placed 14th at 1-under 209.
Additionally on Friday, Arkansas' Mason Overstreet was recognized as the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.