Oct. 26, 2006
AUBURN, Ala. -
The fifth-ranked Auburn women's golf team will host the 11th annual Auburn Tiger-Derby Invitational Oct. 27-29 at the par 72, 6,310-yard Auburn University Club in Auburn, Ala.
The Derby is known for bringing a strong tournament field to the Plains and this year is no different as 5 of the 17 teams currently reside in Golf World's Top 25 Coaches Poll. This year's field features No. 5 Auburn, No. 7 Tennessee, No. 15 Florida, No. 16 North Carolina and No. 20 Florida State. Rounding out the field are LSU, Furman, South Carolina, Nebraska, Alabama, Baylor, Birmingham-Southern, Central Florida, Kansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas.
"We get excited for this weekend every year," Auburn head coach Kim Evans said. "Many of the best teams in the country get the opportunity to try their hand at the course we call home."
The Derby began as the Auburn Tiger Invitational in 1994 and was renamed the Auburn Tiger-Derby Invitational for former Auburn player and coach Virginia Derby Grimes in 1999.
The tournament has crowned four different team champions in the previous 10 events. Auburn took team honors in the inaugural event in 1994 and again in 2000 and 2005. LSU won back-to-back Derby Invitationals in 1995 and 1996, and Georgia took four out of five tournaments after that, winning in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001. Tennessee captured team honors in the 2002 event. The tournament was not played in 2003 and 2004.
Auburn will look to win a second consecutive Derby Invitational this year with a lineup that features Nicole Hage, Abigale Schepperle, Candace Schepperle, Jessica Lovell and Margaret Shirley. Two other Tigers, Marissa Milligan and Mariana Macias, will compete as individuals.
The tournament will begin with a shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. CT Friday. Live stats for the three-day event will be available at www.golfstat.com and daily updates can be found at www.auburntigers.com.
Auburn vs. the Field
The Tigers are 11-3 vs. teams in this year's field. In its previous three tournaments, Auburn took victories over Florida twice, UCF, Tennessee, Florida State, LSU, South Carolina, Texas, Furman, North Carolina and Alabama. Auburn finished behind UNC and Tennessee at the Lady Tar Heel Invitational and behind Tennessee at the UT Mercedes-Benz Women's Collegiate.
The Last Time Out
Auburn took last weekend off to prepare for hosting duties at The Derby. The Tigers last rounds came two weekends ago at the UT Mercedes-Benz Women's Collegiate, where they took home a third-place finish behind Georgia and eventual champion Tennessee. Auburn led after both the first and second rounds on their way to a 287-301-301--889, which left them two strokes shy of qualifying for a playoff with Georgia and Tennessee.
Nicole Hage led Auburn in individual play, (71-72-77--220) earning her 16th career top 10 finish with a 6-over 77 on Sunday to finish at 7-over and in a three-way tie for ninth place.
Playing Under Par
Thus far this season, the Tigers have struggled to turn in rounds at or below par. Through three tournaments, Auburn individuals have turned in just two rounds at par and only four under par. Through the same number of tournaments a year ago, Auburn individuals had carded four rounds at par and nine under par.
Though the Tigers have won fewer team titles at the Derby than SEC foe Georgia, they have had a great amount of success in individual play. In ten tournaments, Auburn has had 20 top-10 finishers and three individual champions. Georgia has seen two of its golfers take individual honors and UCF, Alabama, Mississippi State, Arizona, and Tennessee have crowned one Derby Invitational individual champion.
Auburn in the Polls
After playing in three tournaments, Auburn is ranked 5th in the Golf World Coaches' Poll and 6th by Golfweek magazine. Auburn freshman Candace Schepperle is the highest ranked individual, sitting at No. 51 in the Golfweek ratings.