May 26, 2006
COLUMBUS, Ohio -
After four rounds of competition, the Auburn women's golf team wrapped up its season with a 12th place finish at the NCAA Championship, held at the challenging par 72, 6,203-yard Scarlet Course at The Ohio State University Golf Club.
"I know this team will definitely work a lot harder next season for this tournament," head coach Kim Evans said. "Abigale Schepperle really had a breakthrough tournament and gained some confidence and proved to herself what I have known all along, that she can step out as a great player. This is a regrouping for next year to just get bigger and better."
Approximately an hour after the Tigers teed off, play was halted for a rain delay with strong storms in the area. Competition resumed 56 minutes later with just one brief rain band coming through the area the remainder of the day.
No. 4-ranked Auburn finished the tournament at 56-over for a combined four-day score of 301-298-305-304--1208. Duke took home its second consecutive national championship firing a 15-over (297-292-287-291--1167). The top five included second place Southern California at 25-over (291-300-298-288--1177), third place Pepperdine at 35-over (301-295-298-293--1187), fourth place Arizona State at 43-over (292-294-310-299--1195) and in fifth place was California at 48-over (305-301-295-299--1200).
Schepperle led the Tigers finishing individually in a tie for 21st carding a 9-over for the tournament (74-71-77-75--297). She was followed by senior Maria Martinez in a tie for 38th at 13-over (73-76-75-77--301), sophomore Margaret Shirley in a tie for 68th at 19-over (77-73-78-79--307), junior Nicole Hage in a tie for 79th at 21-over (77-82-75-75--309) and junior Jessica Lovell in a tie for 98th at 27-over (80-78-80-77--315).
Martinez ended her career at Auburn with a No. 3 ranking individually in the latest Golfweek poll. She was named the SEC Golfer of the Year and also claimed individual medalist honors at the SEC Championship in 2006.
"Maria had an incredible year," Evans said. "It was a picture perfect year, actually. She had a tough time the last couple of events this season because she was pushing herself so hard. This course is such a difficult one, you can't do that. She is just trying to be the very best and this tournament cannot take away from her season and all of the wins we have had in which we followed on her shirt tails."
"I am very sad and very excited at the same time," Martinez said of her final collegiate tournament. "It is going to be a big change, but I enjoyed my four years here a lot and now I am ready to move on."
The 12th place finish is the first time the Tigers have finished out of the top 10 at the NCAA Championship since the 1999 season, when they tied for 15th.
The Tigers completed the season with a 178-34-0 record on the year including a record-tying five tournament victories. Auburn won the SEC Championship and set a new record for low stroke average for a season with 294.29, bettering the 2001-02 season's 294.40.