Next up on our men’s 2014 fall countdown, No. 22 Auburn:
Editor’s note: The rankings are those of our college expert, Lance Ringler, as he looked ahead to the collegiate preseason. The official Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings won’t be available until a couple of the weeks into the fall season. Our staff of Andy Zunz, Cassie Stein and Brentley Romine are writing the individual profiles of the teams.
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Preseason rank: 22
Final 2013-14 Golfweek/Sagarin ranking: 22
2013-14 in review: The Tigers hit their stride in the spring, winning three times and finishing third at both the SEC Championship and NCAA Auburn Regional. Auburn finished 23rd at the NCAA Championship, but did so with just two upperclassmen in the lineup.
Notable departures: Niclas Carlsson
Key returnees: Juniors Michael Johnson and Jake Mondy, sophomores Matt Gilchrest and Will Long
Newcomers of note: Freshmen Matthew Perrine and Ben Schlottman
Circled on the fall calendar: U.S. Collegiate, Oct. 17-19, GC of Georgia, Alpharetta, Ga.
Fall outlook: Not only does Auburn return three players who participated in the NCAA Championship a season ago, but the Tigers also get back Johnson, who redshirted last season after suffering a left hip injury. Johnson is fully healthy and knows how to win tournaments – he notched victories at the Alabama State Amateur and Dogwood Invitational in 2013. Johnson is joined on the roster by Mondy, Gilchrest, Long and senior Daniel Stringfellow, all of whom logged at least 33 rounds last season. Gilchrest won a tournament last spring at the UK Bluegrass Invitational. Both freshmen, Perrine and Schlottman, have the ability to adjust quickly to the collegiate game.
Coach’s perspective: “I’m excited about our fall schedule, as it’s one of the best in the nation. Our goals never change and that’s to win championships, and we have the depth and talent to have an exceptional season.” – head coach Nick Clinard