March 25, 2010
AUBURN - Coming off of back-to-back victories, the No. 3-ranked Auburn women's golf team will attempt to keep the streak going this weekend at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic in Athens, Ga. The Tigers enter the tournament as the favorites after winning the title last season.
The Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic is hosted by the University of Georgia and will be played at the par-72, 6,335 yard University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga.
Auburn is no stranger to the tournament, as the team has competed in the past 14 Liz Murphey Collegiate Classics. Included in that streak are two overall victories, in 2007 and 2009, and 11 top-five finishes for the squad.
"It is very familiar to us, it is nearby and it is a great tournament because a lot of our parents get to come and see the girls play," Auburn head coach Kim Evans said. "We are excited to go and compete on a really good golf course. Expectations are to just put in the best effort we can, and just roll the dice and see where we come up"
In last year's tournament, the first two days of competition were cancelled due to rain. On the final day, Auburn carded a team-total 299 to top the leaderboard and take the win. Individually, Kathleen Ekey of Alabama took honors with a round of 69. Auburn's Candace Schepperle earned a tie for third, while Cydney Clanton and Patricia Sanz each tied for fifth.
This weekend, the Tigers will ride a two-tournament win streak, as the team found the top spot at the Auburn Invitational and the Tiger/Wave Classic in the previous three weeks. In the final day at the Tiger/Wave Classic, the Tigers were tied for the lead on the 12th hole, but took control with eight birdies and an eagle to surge ahead and claim the win.
"They feel good about what happened in New Orleans and they're proud of how they came back to take the lead and then to extend it," Evans said. "In golf, any good memory is a great memory to take with you so we'll take that and try to start fresh this weekend."
Playing the weekend for Auburn will be Clanton, Schepperle, Sanz, Haley Wilson and Carlie Yadloczky. Karlin Beck will compete as an individual for the Tigers.
Clanton enters the weekend as the team leader with a 70.75 stroke average. The junior has earned top-five finishes in each of the seven tournaments in which she has played, taking two victories at the Hooters Collegiate Match Play Qualifying and the NCAA Fall Preview. In the Tiger/Wave Classic, Clanton earned a third-place finish after a 1-under par 215 weekend.
Auburn will look for another big performance out of Schepperle, as the senior leader carded a 67 in the final round of the Tiger/Wave Classic to help push the team into the winner's circle. She finished the weekend alone in fourth place, her first top-5 finish of the season, but her fifth top-10 finish. The Birmingham, Ala., native holds a 73.50 stroke average this year.
Auburn's other three competitors, Sanz, Wilson and Yadloczky, will hit the course after finishing in ties for 64th, 24th and 53rd, respectively, at the Tiger/Wave Classic. The three have provided a solid backbone for the team this year, rounding out Auburn's lineup in six of the team's seven tournaments.
Auburn will be up against a field of 21 other teams, including 11 teams in the March 15 GolfWorld/NGCA women's coaches' poll. Other teams competing are Alabama (7), Arkansas, Denver (18), Duke (4), Florida (14), Furman, Georgia (12), Georgia State, Kent State, Michigan State (10), Ole Miss, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Ohio State (22), Purdue (6), South Carolina, Tennessee (11), Tulane, Central Florida, Virginia (19) and Wake Forest (13).
"It's a big field, with Georgia on their home turf and other familiar east coast teams," Evans said. "It is a great golf course, so it brings out the best teams in the country."
Auburn will tee off in the first wave at 8 a.m. CT, off the No. 1 tee with Georgia, Michigan State and Arkansas. Fans will be able to follow along with live stats at www.GolfStat.com.