April 29, 2013
AUBURN - The Auburn women's golf team received a bid to the NCAA East Regional Championship, which will be held May 9-11 at The Auburn University Club in Auburn, Ala., the NCAA Women's Golf Championship Committee announced Monday.
The Tigers are one of 72 teams that were selected to the NCAA Regional field with 24 competing at each site. The Central Regional will take place at the OU Golf Club in Norman, Okla., while the West Regional will take place at Stanford Golf Course in Palo Alto, Calif.
Auburn enters the East Regional as the No. 14 seed. The Tigers are one of six SEC teams in the field, joining Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ole Miss. In all, 13 of the 14 SEC teams made the NCAA Regional field with Florida and Mississippi State in the Central and Vanderbilt, Georgia, Texas A&M, LSU and South Carolina in the West.
"We are so excited to get to play in the NCAA Regional, but even more excited to showcase our great golf course and university to the other 23 teams in the field," said Auburn head coach Kim Evans. "In our field, we have eight teams ranked in the top 25 in the GolfStat rankings and 11 teams that won their conference championship. So, there are a lot of competitors and should be a tough three days of golf."
Teams ranked in the top 25 in the GolfStat rankings are No. 2 Alabama, No. 5 Arkansas, No. 8 UCLA, No. 11 North Carolina, No. 12 Virginia, No. 18 Oklahoma State, No. 20 Tulane and No. 23 Texas.
Making up the rest of the field are Notre Dame, Northwestern, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas State, Auburn, Central Florida, Penn State, East Carolina, Florida International, Ole Miss, East Tennessee State, Tennessee-Chattanooga, James Madison, Eastern Kentucky and Alabama State.
Natalie Willie (Augusta State), Kelly Shon (Princeton), Casey Kennedy (Augusta State), Isabel Southard (Boston College), Shu-Yin Liu (Tulsa) and Kristina Merkle (Tulsa) will compete as individuals.
Auburn is advancing to its 20th NCAA Regional Championship and 18th under Evans. It is also the 18th consecutive NCAA Regional appearance for the Tigers.
"We had a pretty rough stretch there earlier in the spring, but I really liked the way we finished the season," said Evans. "We had a good tournament to finish out the regular season and outside of a difficult first round, I thought we played a great SEC Championship. I like where our team is right now, and playing on our home course is an even bigger plus."
The Tigers have competed in 20 NCAA Regional Tournaments with 13 of them being in the East Regional. Auburn has finished in the top eight, earning a NCAA Championship bid, in 13 of the 19 appearances. Auburn is hosting an NCAA Regional for the first time since 1996 when it hosted the East Regional at the Grand National Lakes Course. AU tied for fifth that year, advancing to the Championship.
"The AU Club is a great course and the staff over there has it in great shape for the tournament," said Evans. "It will be a great challenge for the teams coming in and we are looking forward to it."
A total of 378 participants have been selected for regional competition. Of these players, 126 will advance to the championships finals. Eight teams and two individuals will advance from each regional.
The championships finals will be held May 21-24 at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga., and will be hosted by Georgia.
For live coverage of the East Regional please visit www.GolfStat.com or follow daily updates of the Tigers on www.AuburnTigers.com.
East Regional Teams
Conference automatic qualifiers are indicated in parenthesis next to the institution.
1. Alabama (Southeastern Conference)
4. North Carolina
6. Oklahoma State (Big 12)
7. Tulane (Conference USA)
9. Notre Dame (Big East)
10. Northwestern (Big Ten)
13. Texas State
15. Central Florida
16. Penn State
17. East Carolina
18. Florida International (Sun Belt)
19. Ole Miss
20. East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun)
21. Tennessee-Chattanooga (Southern Conference)
22. James Madison (Colonial Athletic Association)
23. Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Valley Conference)
24. Alabama State (SWAC)
1. Natalie Willie, Augusta State
2. Kelly Shon, Princeton
3. Casey Kennedy, Augusta State
4. Isabel Southard, Boston College
5. Shu-Yin Liu, Tulsa
6. Kristina Merkle, Tulsa