May 25, 2007
Daytona Beach, Fla. -
The Auburn women's golf team concluded the 2006-07 season with a ninth place finish at the NCAA Championship on Friday afternoon. With the finish, head coach Kim Evans has led her team to six top-10 finishes in 11 trips to the NCAA Championship.
The Tigers got off to a strong start in the final round, posting six birdies through their first nine holes including two from senior Nicole Hage to move into 10th place. Through their last nine holes, the Tigers moved into ninth and held off a late charge from Louisville to finish in that spot by a single stroke.
After a rough opening round on Tuesday, Auburn improved nine positions over the next three days, more than any other team in the tournament.
"I'm very pleased with the top-10 finish," Evans said. "I'm proud of the way the girls climbed and fought every day throughout the week. We continued to get better throughout the tournament. My hat is off to the team for battling into the top 10 in a field as competitive as this one."
Seventh-ranked Auburn finished the tournament at 61-over with a combined four-day score of 309-304-300-300--1213. Duke took home its third consecutive national championship firing an 18-over 300-287-293-290--1170. Rounding out the top five were second-place Purdue with a 33-over 303-294-291-297--1185, third-place UCLA at 34-over (303-291-299-293--1186), fourth-place Southern California at 44-over (295-306-304-291--1196) and fifth-place Stanford at 45-over (299-300-304-294--1197).
Freshman Candace Schepperle made the most of her first NCAA Championship appearance, firing a 1-over 73 on Friday to climb into a three-way tie for 14th place. Schepperle carded a four-day total of 79-72-74-73--298 to finish at 10-over. She was followed by Margaret Shirley (77-76-72-78--303) and Hage (78-77-77-71--303), who both tied for 34th. Marissa Milligan finished in a tie for 65th after carding a four-day score of 75-77-79-78--309, and Abigale Schepperle tied for 95th with a score of 82-80-77-78--317.
Schepperle's 14th-place finish makes her the 16th Auburn golfer to be coached to a top-25 NCAA finish by Evans.
"Candace showed great promise with her performance this week," Evans said. "Great things can happen for her in the next three years."
Hage, the lone senior in competition this weekend for the Tigers, ended her career with a No. 25 ranking in the latest Golfweek poll. Thus far in her four-year career, she earned three All-American honors, First Team All-SEC honors this season, Second Team All-SEC honors in 2005 and 2006, and SEC Freshman of the Year honors in 2004. Hage also finished in the top 10 in 21 of her 47 career tournaments.
"Nicole put up a big-time round today," Evans said. "She has worked hard, gotten a degree and been a great leader for us. She is the kind of player a coach loves to work with, and she has had a great experience here."
The Tigers completed the season with a 157-42 record including three tournament victories. Auburn won The Derby Invitational, Lady Puerto Rico Classic and Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic. Four of the five Auburn golfers competing at the NCAA Championship will return to the team next season.