War Eagle! Auburn finishes off wire-to-wire victory at Isleworth Collegiate
It was a pretty good Tuesday for Auburn's golf programs.
After the women's team mounted a dramatic comeback over Oregon to reach the championship match of the East Lake Cup, Auburn's men's team captured the Isleworth Collegiate for its third win of the fall.
The Tigers, ranked third in the Golfweek/Sagarin poll, posted a winning score of 837 (-27) and rolled to a 12-stroke win over No. 12 Florida. Illinois finished third at 7-under 857.
Auburn took control of this tournament from the beginning after it opened a 12-stroke lead on the field after firing an opening round of 273 (-15). A second-round 283 (-5) gave the Tigers an eight-stroke cushion over Florida heading into Tuesday's final round and Auburn was able to finish the job by shooting a 7-under 281 over the final 18 holes for a 12-stroke victory.
The win marks Auburn's third consecutive team title in a full-field event to start the season, following first-place finishes at the Maui Jim Collegiate and the Marquette Invitational. With three championships in the fall, Auburn needs one more victory to tie the program record for single-season team wins.
Brendan Valdez (L) and Nick Gabrelcik (R)
Sophomore Brendan Valdes earned the first individual championship of his early career with a 10-under score of 206, sharing medalist honors with North Florida's Nick Gabrelcik.
At 10-under, Valdez took a five-shot lead over Gabrelcik into the final round but the Osprey played his final seven holes at 4-under, punctuated by a birdie on the last, for a 5-under 65 and a share of the individual title, his seventh of his career.
"Obviously, I was trying to keep myself in the running for the individual title, but my main focus was just helping the team pick up a win," Valdes said. "It's incredibly rewarding to be able to leave Orlando with both. This team works harder than any group I've been a part of. We're super proud of our fall, but now our sights are set on improving over the break so that we can continue to roll throughout the spring."
Auburn also received strong play from junior J.M. Butler, who finished third at 8-under 208 and senior Alex Vogelsong, who tied for fifth at 6-under 210 following a final round 70 (-2).
Auburn Athletic Communications contributed to this report.
ABOUT THE Isleworth Collegiate Invitational
54 hole men's college tournament co-hosted by
the University of Central Florida and West Virginia
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