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Auburn's season concludes with 12th-place regional finish
May 10, 2017

ATHENS, Ga. – The Auburn women’s golf team wrapped up the 2016-17 season Wednesday afternoon with a 12th-place finish in the NCAA Athens Regional at the University of Georgia Golf Course.

Auburn recorded its best score of the week in the final round, posting a 297 (+9) to finish at 900 (+36) for the week.

“I think that what they learned is that if they could save one stroke per nine holes over three days, that would be a lot of strokes we could take off,” Auburn head coach Melissa Luellen said. “When you put it that way, it’s not an overwhelming thing to happen. A lot of things in golf are mental, and I want our team to be the mentally strongest team out there. And they’re definitely working towards that.”

This was Auburn’s 21st NCAA Regional appearance in the last 22 seasons and the 23rd in program history. It marked a return to the postseason after missing out on regionals a year ago, and all five players on this year’s regional squad will return next season.

“Anytime as a coach you’re seeing improvement, that’s a good thing,” Luellen said. “We’re moving in the right direction. We’ve got new players coming in (next year), that’s the whole excitement of seeing your team evolve. I think we’ll continue to improve. They’ve put a lot of good work in, and I think that being here at the regional … that experience will help us next year.”

Freshman Elena Hualde was Auburn’s top finisher, earning her fourth top-20 placement of the season with a tie for 19th place. She recorded rounds of 75-72-73=220 (+4), leading the Tigers all three days in her first regional. It was the sixth time she was Auburn’s top finisher in an event this season.

Hualde finished the season with a scoring average of 72.94, the sixth-best in a single season in Auburn history.

Junior Kelli Murphy shot a final-round 74 (+2), a one-shot improvement over her second round, to finish at 226 (+10) and tied for 43rd. Freshman Kayley Marschke tied for 37th with scores of 76-74-75=225 (+9), and junior Michaela Owen shot 77-77-75=229 (+13) to finish in a tie for 59th. Sophomore Mai Dechathipat wrapped up her week with a final-round 78 that featured birdies on all four par-fives.

Alabama won the regional with a score of 857 (-7). They will be joined at the NCAA Championships by Northwestern (+7), Michigan State (+8), Baylor (+13), Clemson (+20) and North Carolina (+22). Wake Forest’s Jennifer Kupcho was the wire-to-wire individual medalist at 206 (-10); College of Charleston’s Laura Fuenfstueck and Princeton’s Maya Walton were the other top individuals that will advance to the NCAA Championship.

Final results from the 2017 NCAA Athens Regional, hosted by Georgia at the University of Georgia Golf Course (par 72, 6,344 yards) in Athens, Ga.:

Final Team Standings
1. Alabama – 857 (-7)
2. Northwestern – 871 (+7)
3. Michigan State – 872 (+8)
4. Baylor – 877 (+13)
5. Clemson – 884 (+20)
6. North Carolina – 886 (+22)
7. Georgia – 889 (+22)
8. Tennessee – 890 (+26)
9. Augusta – 891 (+27)
10. Arizona – 894 (+30)
11. Princeton – 897 (+33)
12. Auburn – 900 (+36)
13. Kansas State – 910 (+46)
14. UCF – 913 (+49)
15. Wake Forest – 919 (+55)
16. North Florida – 920 (+56)
17. Troy – 923 (+59)
18. Quinnipiac – 978 (+114)

Auburn Individuals
T19. Elena Hualde – 75-72-73=220 (+4)
T37. Kayley Marschke – 76-74-75=225 (+9)
T43. Kelli Murphy – 77-75-74=226 (+10)
T59. Michaela Owen – 77-77-75=229 (+13)
T80. Mai Dechathipat – 82-77-78=237 (+21)



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