"I have got to say this one might be the sweetest because when you are playing at home there are all of these expectations," said Coach Kim Evans, who has been a part of seven of Auburn's eight SEC Women's Golf Championship titles as a coach or player. The last one came in 2009.
Coach Kim Evans is shown on Sunday at the Auburn University Club after her team's SEC title.
"With all of the work our staff does, to not bring the championship home would have been a letdown," said Evans, who was given a Gatorade shower by her players at the 18th hole. "If there was any tournament we were going to win this year it was this one. Our team was dead set on winning it. They have a lot of heart and soul and it showed all weekend.
"We are going to enjoy this championship, and I think you are going to see this team take off after this tournament," the coach added.
Auburn's top finisher was two-time All-American Cydney Clanton, who finished third individually with a two-under-par two of 214, which was four strokes off the pace set by Erica Popson of Tennessee.
Asked what the key to her team's victory was, Clanton said, "I would definitely say it was staying positive, which is what we did from the start to the end. We didn't get ahead of ourselves."
Cydney Clanton lines up a putt on Sunday at the Auburn University Club.
After shooting a 69 and 72, the senior finished with a 73 on Sunday. "I was a little frustrated with how I played today because I would have loved to have played better, but I am so proud how my team and of the win," Clanton said.
Haley Wilson, a junior from Fort Mitchell, Ala., was Auburn's second leading scorer. She finished in 11th with a four-over-par 220 total.
Haley Wilson walks to the hole to retrieve her golf ball after chipping in for a birdie on Sunday.
"It is a great feeling because we played great as team," Wilson said. "We said if we just played steady good things would happen for us and that is what we did."
Sisters Marta Sanz and Patricia Sanz each shot 222 to tie for 14th place and Carlie Yadloczky finished in a tie for 19th at 225.
Carlie Yadloczky blasts out of the sand trap at 18 and followed the shot by making a short putt.
Traditionally the Auburn women's golf team celebrates their SEC titles by rolling the trees at Toomer's Corner, but because those trees are currently off limits while being treated for poisoning the Tigers celebrated by rolling a tree next to the back patio at the Auburn University Club.
Commenting on her players, Evans said, "You start with Cydney Clanton, who is the heart and soul of the team. I can't say enough about her or enough about her play. Karlin Beck, who is also a senior--she didn't play--but she is instrumental on how she did play. The competition got real heated with Karlin and Marta for the starting five.
"Haley and Patty really stepped up," the coach said. "I told Patty that her five-under round yesterday (in windy conditions) was the best round of college golf that I have seen in my 24 years of playing. Haley's chip-in on 18 just sealed the deal for us. Carlie Yadloczky is an explosive player. She brought it for us on the first two days. I can't say enough about Marta Sanz. She is such a competitor and is just so fierce. Her eagle on 15 helped her seal the deal.
"We've got leaders all over the place. Madison Overbey, Diana Fernandez, and those who didn't compete play every day with us," Evans added. "That's what makes our depth so good."
The men's team had a very different result as the Tigers finished in seventh at their league championship at Sea Island, Ga. The Tigers shot a 32-over-par total of 872 for seventh place, which was 24 shots off the winning pace set by the Florida Gators.
Auburn's top finished, Blayne Barber, shot a six-over-part 216 to tie for 14th place.