HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – A stellar performance in the final round of the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate saw the Auburn women’s golf team climb 10 spots Sunday, earning a tie for seventh place at the Long Cove Club.
Against a stacked tournament field and in very difficult scoring conditions, the Tigers moved from 17th place to a tie for seventh on the final day with a score of 291 (+7), a 12-shot improvement over their second-round score. Overall, the Tigers finished with scores of 304-303-291=898 (+46), tied with North Carolina and one shot ahead of host South Carolina.
It marked the best finish for Auburn in their six appearances at the Darius Rucker, and could be considered their best performance of the year with 15 of the 18 competing teams among the nation’s top 40 squads.
“Patience paid off,” Auburn head coach Melissa Luellen said, “as well as the short game challenges we did before we left. This course is so long and tough, and windy conditions and fast greens set up for missing more greens. The players had to accomplish 250 up-and-down conversions the week before we left. It was not fun practice, but I told them the pain would turn into pleasure when their scores came down.”
Seniors Kelli Murphy and Michaela Owen led the way for Auburn on the final day. Playing in her home state for the final time as a Tiger, Murphy shot a 1-under-par 70 and climbed into the top 20, earning a tie for 15th place. She made the turn at 1-over, but carded three birdies on her second nine to post one of just five rounds in the field under par Sunday. Owen bounced back from a tough second round, carding 16 pars, one bogey and one birdie for an even-par 71 to finish tied for 36th.
“Great play by our seniors today,” Luellen said. “It was nice to beat a number of teams ranked ahead of us, which provides this bunch with a nice shot of confidence heading into a our new home tournament, the Evans Derby Experience.”
Alabama won the tournament at 14-over, followed by Arkansas (+22) and Wake Forest (+26). Arkansas’ Maria Fassi was the individual medalist at 210 (-3), one of just two players to finish under par.
Auburn is back in action in two weeks when the Tigers host their first full regular-season event in nearly a decade. The Evans Derby Experience runs Sunday-Tuesday, March 18-20, at the Auburn University Club. Admission is free for all fans.
For the latest on Auburn women’s golf, follow @AuburnWGolf on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Final results from the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, hosted by South Carolina at Long Cove Club (par 71, 6,265 yards) in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Final Team Standings
1. Alabama – 866 (+14)
2. Arkansas – 874 (+22)
3. Wake Forest – 878 (+26)
4. Duke – 879 (+27)
5. Northwestern – 886 (+34)
6. Furman – 891 (+39)
T7. Auburn – 898 (+46)
T7. North Carolina – 898 (+46)
9. South Carolina – 899 (+47)
10. LSU – 900 (+48)
T11. Georgia – 901 (+49)
T11. Vanderbilt – 901 (+49)
13. Baylor – 904 (+52)
14. Arizona State – 905 (+53)
15. Oklahoma State – 906 (+54)
T16. Tennessee – 907 (+55)
T16. Mississippi State – 907 (+55)
18. Virginia – 909 (+57)
T15. Kelli Murphy – 77-73-70=220 (+7)
T36. Elena Hualde – 77-74-74=225 (+12)
T36. Michaela Owen – 75-79-71=225 (+12)
T56. Julie McCarthy – 75-78-76=229 (+16)
T79. Kayley Marschke – 78-78-78=234 (+21)