March 26, 2009
AUBURN - The No. 7 Auburn women's golf team returns to the course this week as the Tigers travel to Athens, Ga., for the 37th Annual Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic. The three-day, 54-hole event will take place at the University of Georgia Golf Course.
Auburn will play at the tournament for the 23rd time in the team's history, following a seventh-place finish last year. The Tigers won the event as recently as 2007 when Auburn pulled out a one-stroke victory over Florida.
Three Tigers finished in the top 25 last season, led by Candace Schepperle in seventh place. Cydney Clanton followed in 10th place with Margaret Shirley trailing in 22nd.
With her top two players returning from last season, head coach Kim Evans is looking forward to testing her team against a tournament field filled with the top teams in the country.
"I really like this tournament. This is my 15th year to come here, it is a great golf course with an incredible field, full of top 10 teams," said Evans. "We feel good, we have had a little bit of a break since playing in Orlando, but we start our last leg here coming down the home stretch and hopefully we kick it up a notch."
Of the 18 teams in the field, 12 are ranked in the Golfweek top-30. Auburn comes in ranked seventh in the nation and is one of five top-10 teams in the field.
Auburn's lineup includes Schepperle and Clanton, the top players for Auburn at this tournament a year ago. Also on the slate for the Tigers are freshmen Haley Wilson and Patricia Sanz, along with sophomore Sarah Thead. Playing as an individual at the tournament will be freshman Madison Overbey.
Thead will be making her second appearance at the tournament after placing 50th last year as an individual.
Playing on its home course, the 13th-ranked Bulldogs are the defending tournament champion after posting a 54-hole total 900 last season. The Liz Murphey will crown a new individual champion, though, as Purdue will not make a return appearance. The Boilermakers' Christina Boeljon won the individual title last year with a 2-over-par 218.
With rain and thunderstorms in the forecast for part of the weekend, the weather could come into plat at the tournament.
"Weather will be a factor, we will see what it brings this weekend," said Evans. "But, we have been waiting for this part of the season all year long and we are ready to play."
The par-72 University of Georgia Golf Course will play at 6,335 yards for the tournament. Tee times are set to begin at 8 a.m. CT, Friday with Auburn set to take the course at 9:40 a.m. CT. Live stats will be available at www.GolfStat.com.