Feb. 15, 2009
AUBURN - The No. 10/11 Auburn women's golf team will open up its 2009 spring season this week at the Central District Invitational in Parrish, Fla. The two-day tournament is set to take place at the River Wilderness Country Club and will feature 11 teams ranked in the GolfWeek top 50.
"This is our first tournament of the year and we will see what we've got," said Auburn head coach Kim Evans. "It was nice this week to have a full week of good weather to get out and get a lot of practice time in. I'm excited to get out there now and see how the team plays."
The Auburn lineup will feature at least one new face as freshman Haley Wilson joins the team. Wilson signed with Auburn in November and graduated from high school early, allowing her to join the team for the spring semester.
"Hayley Wilson came on board this semester and did a great job in our qualifier, right there in that top position and we are real pleased with how she has played," said Evans. "I think this is one of those times when Hayley is new and obviously with her position, it gives us depth and we will see how this affects us."
The lineup for the Central District Invitational will include junior Candace Schepperle, Wilson, sophomore Cydney Clanton, freshman Patricia Sanz and senior Mariana Macias.
Schepperle, the No. 4-ranked player in the country, led the Tigers in the fall season with a 71.57 stroke average. She has also had a good winter, picking up a pair of wins at the Dixie Amateur and the Harder Hall Invitational. For her efforts in the fall season, she was also named to the Golf World Women's Mid-Season All-America Team.
The tournament field is made up of some of the top teams in the country, including No. 8 Duke, No. 14 LSU, No. 17 Purdue, No. 19 Michigan State and No. 21 Kent State. Also in the field are Michigan, Ohio State, South Carolina, Texas Christian and Texas, who are all ranked in the top 50 in the nation.
"I think any tournament we play in, we have big-time teams there that are doing what we are doing, just trying to get better," said Evans. "Right now, for us, it is working that depth in a way it should be and hopefully we get stronger."
Host Michigan State is the defending champion in the tournament after carding a 28-over-par 892 last season. Leading the Spartans was Sara Brown, who won the individual title with a 4-under 216.
Characterized by Evans as a "traditional" golf course near Tampa, Fla., River Wilderness Country Club is a par-72 course that will play at 6,099 yards. The tournament will consist of 36 holes of stroke play on Monday, followed by an additional 18 holes on Tuesday. Action is set to begin both days with an 8 a.m., shotgun start.
Fans can follow all the action live by accessing www.GolfStat.com.