April 20, 2008
Louden, Tenn. -
It all came together for the No. 9 Auburn women's golf team on Sunday as the group fired a 3-over 291 and grabbed fourth place at the SEC Championship at the Tennessee National Golf Club in Louden, Tenn. Senior Margaret Shirley shot a season low 70 in the final round to tie for fourth in the individual standings.
"We had the second lowest round behind Florida today," head coach Kim Evans said. "Florida just played exceptional this entire tournament. We are still evolving as a team right now and it was nice to see it come together for us today. Overall it was a good tournament despite our first two days. We are still trying to piece everything together and our goal continues to be to climb to the top."
Shirley started the day off strong, going even through seven, before bogeying on eight. She finished the front nine a 1-over. A birdie on 10 put her back to even par and it would only get better from there. Shirley turned in two more birdies to finish at 2-under 70, her lowest individual round of the season. Shirley led Auburn every day of the tournament and worked herself to a tie for fourth place. It was her highest finish since 2006 when she tied for fourth at the Derby.
"All year Margaret has being trying to put together a great senior year," Evans noted. "It really came together for her at the tournament in Georgia last month and she got her game back. She played like a true veteran this weekend and made Auburn proud."
Also finishing strong was sophomore Candace Schepperle, who along with Shirley was the difference makers for Auburn the entire weekend. Schepperle found herself at 3-over heading into the final five holes, but turned her game around and surged to the finish. She had an eagle on 14, a birdie on 15 and another birdie on 17 to finish at even par on the day. It was Auburn's first eagle of the year. Schepperle tied for seventh, improving upon her 25th place finish at last year's SEC's.
"Candace finished strong today," commented Evans. "She had an eagle and two birdies to finish up today and get back to even par. I was very proud of her performance."
Freshman Cydney Clanton got her game back on Sunday, finishing a 2-over 74 and taking 29th place. Clanton had birdies on three and six and was at 2-under before bogeys on eight and nine put her at even on the front nine. She got back to 1-under after a birdie on 10, but three more bogeys to finish play were the difference.
Junior Mariana Macias finished her first SEC Championship tied for 40th after firing 3-over 75. She had three birdies on the day, but had four bogeys and a double. Senior Abigale Schepperle had a tough front nine, committing five bogeys and a double, but turned things around on the back nine with two birdies to finish at 4-over 76 and tied for 44th.
Florida secured its eighth SEC women's golf title, carding a tournament-low 284 on the last day, which also tied for the fourth-lowest round in school history. The Gators totaled 874 strokes, 17 less than second-place Arkansas (297-298-296--891). Georgia grabbed third (300-298-296--891).
Stacy Lewis, the defending NCAA national champion, won the individual crown. She was ahead at the end of each day with scores of 69, 73 and 72. Florida's Hannah Yun took second (73-70-72--215), followed by Benedicte Toumpsin of South Carolina in third (72-72-72--216). Mississippi's Dori Carter tied with Shirley for fourth.
The Tigers will head to the NCAA Regional Tournament, May 8-10. The tournament sites are Athens, Ga., Sacramento, Calif., and Austin, Texas. Auburn will know which of these sites it will be playing at on April 28 when the NCAA announces its decision at 4 p.m. CT. The NCAA Championship is scheduled for May 20-23 in Albuquerque, N.M.
1. Florida (297-293-284--874)
2. Arkansas (297-298-296--891)
3. Georgia (300-298-305--903)
4. Auburn (310-309-291--910)
5. South Carolina (300-319-296--915)
6. LSU (310-310-300--920)
7. Alabama (307-307-307--921)
8. Tennessee (316-312-303--931)
9. Vanderbilt (308-317-310--935)
10. Mississippi (309-317-313--939)
11. Mississippi State (319-318-315--952)
12. Kentucky (326-319-308--953)