May 7, 2008
The 10th-ranked Auburn women's golf team will begin play at the NCAA East Regional on Thursday at the par 72, 6,335-yard University of Georgia Golf Course. Auburn, who is the No. 4 seed behind top-seeded Duke, second-seeded Florida and third-seeded Georgia, will look to finish in the top eight and earn its 12th trip to the NCAA Championship in the last 13 seasons.
"It is a tough field and a tough golf course," head coach Kim Evans said. "It is going to be kind of like a boxing match instead of a golf tournament this week. It is really just who is standing at the end of three days and anything can happen. That last day becomes a fight for a top eight spot. We won the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic last year on this course, so the kids are familiar with going over there and playing and that means a lot."
Senior Margaret Shirley will play in the No. 1 spot followed by sophomore Candace Schepperle in the No. 2 spot. Both Shirley and Schepperle were top 10 finishers at the SEC Championship two weeks ago. SEC Freshman of the Year Cydney Clanton drops to the No. 3 spot, while junior Mariana Macias is at No. 4. Making her first appearance in post-season play is freshman Sarah Thead in the No. 5 position.
The Tigers will be among nine other teams ranked in the top 30, led by No.3 Duke. No. 4 Florida and No. 8 Georgia round out the top 10. Also ranked in the top 30 are No. 14 Wake Forest, No. 18 Tennessee, No. 20 New Mexico, No. 21 Virginia, No. 28 Louisville and No. 29 East Carolina. Eight other teams competing are ranked in the top 50.
"Duke is the No.1 team in the country, Florida is a top five, Georgia is a top eight and we are a top 10," Evans said. "There are a lot of feisty teams in this regional and every team is going for that top eight. We hope to try and win the tournament and are trying to piece together our first win and try and build on that last day at SECs. We want to be in that last group on the last day trying to win the tournament."
The Tigers hold a 39-18-1 advantage over the 15 teams they have previously competed against this season. Auburn will share the course for the first time this season with Charleston Southern, Georgia State, Indiana, Jackson State, Jacksonville State and Missouri.
Auburn has been selected to the East Regional 14 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.
Auburn will tee off at 9 a.m. ET on Thursday and 1:20 p.m. ET on Friday. The Tiger's playing partners for both rounds will be Tennessee and Wake Forest. Live results will be available at www.golftstat.com and a full recap of each day's round can be found at www.auburntigers.com.