No. 12 Women's Golf Comes Home For Derby Invitational At The AU Club
AUBURN - The No. 12-ranked Auburn women's golf team is set to host to the 2008 Derby Invitational at the par-72, 6,301-yard Auburn University Club at Yarbrough Farms in Auburn, Ala. Since its inception in 1994, The Derby has earned the reputation as one of the nation's premiere collegiate tournaments.
This year, 17 of the nation's top teams will descend on the AU Club for the three-day, three-round event, Oct. 24-26, with a practice round scheduled for Oct. 23.
"This is just a real tough, gutsy field," said Auburn head coach Kim Evans. "We have four of the top 10 teams in the country and a ton of talented teams that make up the remainder of the field. All of these teams, day-in and day-out, can compete in the top 10, it just comes down to who puts it together this weekend. This is a very competitive tournament."
Along with top-ranked teams No. 2 Arizona State, No. 4 Georgia, No. 6 Alabama, No. 7 Virginia, No. 12 Auburn and No. 13 LSU, the 2008 Derby will field squads from Central Florida, Coastal Carolina, Florida State, Furman, Kansas, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Chattanooga.
"It's fun to be able to stay in our home town," said Evans. "We don't get to do it but every couple of years. It's fun to play at home at the Auburn University Club where our new house is. Our families will be in town to watch, so we're excited for that.
"There are always advantages to playing at home, but there are also some disadvantages. The disadvantage of playing at home is the pressure you put on yourself and the high expectations not wanting to mess up because you're at home. If we can muscle through that part of it, we'll have a nice tournament."
Individually, The Derby boasts 16 golfers in the Oct. 22 Golfweek women's collegiate individual top-50 including Arizona State's Anna Nordqvist (No. 2), Auburn's Candace Schepperle (No. 4), Arizona State's Azahara Munoz (No. 6), Florida State's Caroline Westrup (No. 9), Georgia's Mallory Hetzel (No. 11), Auburn's Cydney Clanton (No. 16), Virginia's Whitney Neuhauser (No. 18), Georgia's Marta Silva (No. 20), Ole Miss' Dori Carter (No. 22), Georgia's Krystle Caithness (No. 23) and Alabama's Camilla Lennarth (No. 24).
In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, one of the top college tournaments in the nation, the Golf World Invitational, was cancelled. With the best teams in the country left without a place to play, the decision was made by the Auburn administration and coaching staff to conduct the 2001 Derby Invitational on the November dates of the Golf World, filling the void.
The tournament was a huge success with a field that included Duke and Virada Nirapathpongporn, who would go on to win the 2002 NCAA team and individual titles. Also in the field was Arizona's Lorena Ochoa, who won the tournament with a 6-under-par 210. Ochoa was named the 2007 LPGA Rolex Player of the Year and now has 24 LPGA victories to her credit.
The trophy presented to the tournament champion is a plaque featuring Auburn's bald eagle, Spirit, flying at Jordan-Hare Stadium with the American flag waving in the background.
"It's a nice this year to bring back the trophies with the flag and the eagle, all those good red, white, and blue things," said Evans. "I just felt like, `Why ever lose that theme of being patriotic and keep it every year?'"
Auburn won the 2006 Derby Invitational after carding an 18-over, two-round total of 594. Auburn's Marisa Milligan carded a 1-over 145 to claim individual medalist honors.
Live scoring for the event will be available via Golfstat.com or by accessing the 2008 Derby Invitational tournament central page located on the women's golf page of www.auburntigers.com.
The tournament program, which includes tee times, a short biography of the event's first 11 years, course and team information and all-time Derby records, is also located on the tournament central page.
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