ATHENS, Ga. - The Auburn women's golf team made some major moves Thursday as the Tigers carded a 3-under-par 285 to finish the day at 18-over 882 for the tournament. Auburn tied for the lowest round of the day and moved up into a tie for ninth heading into Friday's final round.
Hosted by Georgia, the NCAA Championship is a 72-hole stroke play championship taking place at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga. The par-72 course plays at 6,372 yards for the tournament. The tournament field is made up of 24 teams, eight advancing from each regional site, and six individuals for a 126-player field.
It was an early start for the Tigers as the team had to come in and complete Wednesday's weather-shortened round before starting the third round. Auburn did so in fine fashion, carding two birdies to finish the second round with a 4-over 292.
Auburn kept the momentum going through the rest of the morning as the Tigers combined 17 birdies in the third round and its second-lowest round of the season.
"The first day, the team seemed a bit rattled, but I think Coach Evans flying in and the team seeing her out of the course really settled them," said student assistant Danielle Downey. "She gave a couple tips and it seemed to work. Each day, we've gotten better and hopefully tomorrow will be our best day.
"We've bounced back two days in a row, and it's good to see. It's a sign of character and strength. I think they tried to win the tournament the first day, but they learned a lot that first day and applied it yesterday and today."
Auburn was in last place after the first round and moved up five places to a tie for 19th after 36 holes. The Tigers made another big leap in the third round, moving up 10 places into a tie for ninth, mostly on the strength of three Tigers with sub-par rounds.
Junior Marta Sanz led the way with a 4-under 68, giving her an even-par 216 after three rounds and a tie for 14th individually. Four of Sanz's last five competitive rounds have been in the 60s, two at NCAA Regionals and two so far at the NCAA Championship.
Sanz, a native of Madrid, Spain, was 5-under at one point on the day, carding six birdies during her round, but a bogey on her 17th hole dropped her to 4-under. She had a hot streak late in the round as she birdied three straight holes.
"I played really solid on the first nine and then on the back nine, every putt went it," said Sanz. "I had three birdies in a row. It was one of those days they just go in. I'm really happy with my round."
Right behind her was sophomore Victoria Trapani with a 3-under 69. She had five birdies on the day with four coming in her first nine holes as she notched her first round in the 60s this season. She now sits tied for 40th with a 5-over 221 for the tournament.
The third and final sub-par round came from senior Carlie Yadloczky as she finished with a 2-under 70 on the day, tying her for 40th with Trapani with a 5-over 221 for the tournament. Yadloczky birdied two of her first three holes and cruised the rest of the day with 14 pars, a birdie and a bogey to finish 2-under.
Diana Fernandez and Jamie Yun rounded out the lineup, carding rounds of 78 and 83, respectively. Fernandez is now tied for 61st at 9-over 225 while Yun is 125th at 24-over 240.
In the team race, Southern California distanced itself after the third round, holding a 17-stroke lead at 19-under 845. The Trojans tied Auburn for the low round Thursday. Duke is second at 2-under 862 while Alabama is third at 8-over 872. Purdue and UCLA round out the top five in a tie for fourth at 9-over 873.
Individually, Southern California's Annie Park has the lead at 9-under 207. Ally McDonald (Mississippi State) and Stephanie Meadow (Alabama) are tied for second with 209s. USC's Kyung Kim is fourth with a 4-under 212 while Celine Boutier (Duke) and Noemi Jimenez (Arizona State) are tied for fifth with 3-under 213s.
Auburn will return to the course from 10:50 - 11:34 a.m. CT off the No. 10 tee. The Tigers will be playing alongside San Jose State and Michigan State, the same two teams Auburn played the first 36 holes with.
Fans can follow along with live scoring at www.GolfStat.com and a live video feed at NCAA.com/liveschedule.
ATHENS, Ga. -- Third-round results from the NCAA Championship hosted by the University of Georgia at the UGA Golf Course. Par: 72. Yardage: 6,372.