No. 1 Auburn ready for NCAA Baton Rouge Regional

SEC_2724_D04_MG0288SEC_2724_D04_MG0288
Todd Drexler/SESPORTSMEDIA.com

AUBURN, Ala. – No. 1 Auburn men's golf begins its national title quest this week, May 13-15, at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional at LSU's University Club in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
 
"This is what we've prepared all year for, the NCAA Tournament," Tigers head coach Nick Clinard said. "You've got to have your best stuff, physically and mentally, every single day moving forward or someone else is going to pass you by. We're excited where our game is at right now and we're ready to compete with the best that college golf has to offer."
 
The regional serves as a qualifier for the 2024 NCAA Championship as the top five teams in all six regionals will punch their tickets to the sport's biggest stage and compete for a national championship May 24-29 at the Omni La Costa Champions Course in Carlsbad, California.
 
Auburn tees off the first round of its regional alongside No. 12 Virginia and No. 14 Texas Tech at 8 a.m. CT off hole 1. Groups will be sent off in 11-minute intervals.
 
Representing the Orange & Blue are the same crew that led the program to a Southeastern Conference title two weeks ago. SEC Freshman and Player of the Year Jackson Koivun will anchor the Tigers' line up as the No. 1 man. Two-time First Team All-SEC golfer Brendan Valdes will take the No. 2 spot followed by junior Carson Bacha. Freshly minted as All-SEC for the fourth time in his career, senior J.M. Butler takes spot No. 4 on Auburn's lineup card. SEC All-Freshman Team member Josiah Gilbert will be the first to tee off as the fifth man.
 
Senior Alex Vogelsong will remain the Tigers' sixth, reserve player. Postseason rules allow for the free interchange of any two players following the completion of a round.
This week marks Auburn's 34th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. In their previous 13 regional appearances under Clinard, the Tigers have advanced to the NCAA Championship 10 times, including the last two years in a row. Auburn has won its regional on three occasions — 1990, 1997 and 2023. 

To secure a sixth straight tournament win, Auburn needs to outplay a field that consists of No. 12 Virginia, No. 14 Texas Tech, No. 24 Oregon, No. 25 Duke, Ohio State, LSU (host), Louisville, Houston, South Carolina, Lipscomb, Yale, Loyola Maryland and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Auburn has already faced eight of its regional opponents in stroke play competition this season and boasts an 11-0 record against those programs.