March 7, 2009
AUBURN - The No. 8 Auburn women's golf team is set to continue its 2009 spring season this week as the Tigers travel to Sorrento, Fla., for the Central Florida Challenge at RedTail Golf Club. The three-day tournament will feature 13 teams ranked in the GolfWeek top-25, including No. 1-ranked Arizona State.
The Tigers are coming off their first win of the season three weeks ago at the Central District Invitational. Auburn fired rounds of 284-295-303-882 to finish three strokes ahead of its nearest competition. Junior Candace Schepperle led the pack of Tigers by finishing in second place with a 2-under-par 214.
"Getting that first win did a lot for our confidence and showed the team what they are capable of doing," said Auburn head coach Kim Evans. "We go into another tournament this week with a very tough field, it will be very challenging and we will have to keep working hard to play at that level."
The Auburn lineup will feature Schepperle, freshman Patricia Sanz, freshman Haley Wilson, sophomore Cydney Clanton and senior Mariana Macias. Also playing will be sophomore Sarah Thead as an individual.
The lineup is identical from the Central District Invitational. Auburn accomplished an impressive feat in the tournament as all five competitors finished in the top 30 overall.
"Candace, Patricia, Haley, Cydney and Mariana have been playing very well in practice and qualifying and we hope to see them build off some of the good things they did down in Florida a few weeks ago," said Evans.
Schepperle, who is coming off two winter amateur victories and a runner-up finish in the spring opener, will head into the UCF Challenge as the No. 1-ranked player in the country for the first time this season.
"That ranking is just a testament of the hard work Candace has put in over the past year and how much her game has grown and improved," said Evans.
The tournament field is made up of some of the top teams in the country, including No. 5 Alabama, No. 20 Arizona), No. 1 Arizona State, No. 9 Duke, No. 28 Florida, No. 57 Florida State, No. 11 LSU, No. 15 North Carolina, No. 6 Oklahoma State, No. 12 Pepperdine, No. 13 Purdue, No. 37 Tennessee, No. 34 Texas, No. 42 UCF, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Southern California and No. 14 Vanderbilt.
Duke is the defending champion in the tournament and Duke's Alison Whitaker is the defending individual medalist.
The par-72 course will play at 6,301 yards in the three-day tournament with tee times starting at 8 a.m. CT the first two days. Final-round tee times are set to begin at 7:30 a.m. CT.
Fans can follow all the action live by accessing www.GolfStat.com.