May 13, 2006
BROWNS SUMMIT, N.C. - Improving four spots on the final day, the Auburn women's golf team earned a bid to the NCAA Championship by finishing sixth in the NCAA East Region here Saturday afternoon at the par 72, 6,386-yard Champions Course at the Bryan Park Golf Club.
The Tigers shot a 3-under on the day (293-301-285--879) and will now advance to the NCAA Championship, May 23-26, at the Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio. The top eight teams from each of the three regions advance.
"The regional tournament is always such a tough one because there is so much pressure involved and so many teams fighting for the same thing," head coach Kim Evans said. "The girls really battled back today and had a great round. Of course we are disappointed that we finished sixth, but now the pressure is off and we just have to play golf."
Four teams from the Southeastern Conference advance from the East Region including Tennessee, who finished in the top spot at even par (292-286-286--864), LSU in second at 6-over (288-288-294--870), Auburn in sixth at 15-over and Alabama, who advanced in a one-hole playoff with Virginia to take eighth at 11-over (295-293-299--887).
Other teams advancing from the NCAA East Region were California in third at 10-over (288-295-291--874), Arizona State (307-284-287--878) and Florida State (297-289-292--878) tied for fourth at 14-over and Wake Forest in seventh at 19-over (296-293-294--883).
Junior Jessica Lovell took top honors for the Tigers finishing in a tie for 15th and firing a 2-over (73-74-71--218). Lovell was followed by senior Maria Martinez in a tie for 18th at 3-over (72-74-73-219), sophomore Abigale Schepperle tied for 36th at 7-over (72-78-73--223), junior Nicole Hage finished 45th at 8-over (78-78-68--224) and Margaret Shirley tied for 54th at 10-over (76-75-75--226).
Tennessee's Marci Turner took the individual title carding an impressive 7-under (70-70-69--209) for the tournament. She was followed by Alissa Kuczka of Arizona State at 5-under (75-68-68--211) and Mandy Goins of Wake Forest (70-70-73--213) and Caroline Westrup of Florida State (71-72-70--213) tied for third at 3-under.
Auburn has now advanced from the NCAA Regional tournament to the NCAA Championship 10 of the last 11 years. Last season, the Tigers finished third in the finals.
The Tigers returned to Auburn Saturday evening and will depart for Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, May 20. There will be practice rounds on Sunday and Monday before regular competition begins Tuesday morning.