No. 5 Women's Golf Travels To Gainesville, Fla. For NCAA East Regional
May 6, 2009
AUBURN - The No. 5 Auburn women's golf team returns to the course this week as the Tigers head to the Mark Bostick Golf Course at the University of Florida for the NCAA East Regional Championship. Auburn is one of 21 teams at the East Regional, vying for one of eight spots in the NCAA Championship field.
The tournament is a 54-hole stroke play event hosted by the University of Florida at the Mark Bostick Golf Course. The par-70 course will play at 6,074 yards for the three-day tournament. Tee times are set to begin at 6:30 a.m. CT, Thursday off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees with live scoring available at www.GolfStat.com.
The NCAA East Regional is one of three qualifying tournaments for the NCAA Championship, set for May 19-22 at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md. The top eight teams from each of the three regionals will advance to the NCAA Championship.
The NCAA Central Regional will take place at the Scarlet Course at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, while the NCAA West Regional is set for the Karsten Golf Course at Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz.
Put in a do-or-die situation, Auburn head coach Kim Evans said the key is to take the NCAA Regional just like any other tournament.
"One of the things we have done well this spring is to concentrate on one tournament at a time, and that is the way we have to approach this," said Evans. "We've just been preparing with our practice rounds the best we can, and we are eager to get down there and get ready to play. We really want to treat this tournament like we do every tournament."
Playing in the No. 1 spot for Auburn will be sophomore Cydney Clanton, an All-SEC First Team selection. Freshman Patricia Sanz will follow in the second spot with SEC Golfer of the Year Candace Schepperle in the No. 3 position. Freshman Haley Wilson, an All-SEC Second Team and Freshman Team selection, will play in the fourth spot while sophomore Sarah Thead will round out the lineup in the fifth position.
Earning one of the eight spots in the championship will not be easy as the tournament field features 10 teams currently ranked in the GolfWeek Top-30. It will also be a familiar field to the Tigers as seven of the other 20 teams are SEC members. AU has also faced 16 of the other 20 teams in tournaments during the regular season, posting a 53-13-1 head-to-head record against the field.
While being familiar with your opponents is helpful, Evans points out that it all comes down to the golf course.
"I think we are used to playing these teams and that's good, but again I think we are keying more on the golf course, the conditions and where we are individually," said Evans. "We are really keying in on what we've got to do to try to play the best we can play each day."
The golf course is also familiar to the Tigers as Auburn won the SunTrust Lady Gator Invitational a month ago in the regular-season finale. AU rallied to card the low final round of the tournament, tying Duke, who had led the first two rounds of the tournament. The Tigers then pulled out the win on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff for their third win of the season.
Playing in difficult, windy conditions throughout the tournament, Auburn won with a 73-over-par 913 and was led by Clanton, who tied for fourth with a 16-over-par 226.
"I think it helps anytime you've been on a course before because you're familiar with it; just the surroundings of the city, the driving range, and how the course plays," said Evans. "We are glad that we have been there and seen it and we are looking forward to going back."
Auburn has been selected to the NCAA East Regional 15 times since 1993, but has never won the event. The Tigers best finish was a second in the 2002 East Regional in Baton Rouge. Auburn's lone regional title came in 2005, when it won the Central Regional in Lubbock, Texas.
The Tigers look to advance to their fifth NCAA Championship in a row with 2004 being the last time Auburn failed to make it past Regionals.
With tee times starting at 6:30 a.m. CT, Thursday, Auburn will go in the second grouping off the No. 1 tee, going from 7:30 - 8:10 a.m. During Friday's second round, Auburn will go off the No. 10 tee from 11:40 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.
For more information on the 2009 NCAA East Regional, check out the tournament central at www.GatorZone.com.
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