Tigers Move Up To Fifth At NCAA Golf Championship

With a senior challenging for the individual title, Auburn showed improvement in round two at the national championship tournament.

West LaFayette, Ind.--Auburn improved its team score by 14 strokes over its opening round on day two of the NCAA Women's Golf Championship. However, that wasn't good enough to make up any ground on leader Southern Cal.

Auburn shot a 303 on Wednesday and still trails the No. 1 ranked USC team by a dozen strokes. USC has a 608 total after improving two strokes from its opening day performance as it matched Auburn's 303 total. USC is 32 strokes over par on the Birck Boilermaker Kampen par 72 course.

The Tigers did manage to move up into a tie for fifth place with the Florida Lady Gators. Auburn was tied for ninth after the opening round. Auburn's 303 on Wednesday is the third best round of the tournament.

Diana Ramage made a move in round two.

With the help of four birdies, Diana Ramage led the SEC champion Tigers with an even par 72. That is nine strokes better than her first round and moves her up to a tie for 15th place at 153. Ramage was one-under-par on the front nine and two-over on the back.

Danielle Downey birdied two of the last three holes to finish just behind Ramage at 73. That moved the senior up to a tie for third place for the individual title with a two-day total of 149, two shots off the pace set by Annie Thurman of Oklahoma State.

Danielle Downey

Freshman Maria Martinez shot a 77 for the Tigers, the third best round of the day for Coach Kim Evans' team that came into the event ranked third nationally. She is tied for 72nd at 161.

It was a rough day for Tiger senior standout Celeste Troche, who was two strokes off the individual lead going into round two with a 74 on Tuesday. She started the second round with a double bogey followed by a bogey. On the par three 13th, she took an eight with two shots into the water to push her to 10-over-par on the round. Troche recovered with a birdie on the next hole and had pars the rest of the round. Troche is tied for 39th with a 157 total. Her round of 81 was the worst of her collegiate career.

AU did not have to count the 85 put up by Kingsley Barrett. She is in 120th place at 172.

Auburn started the second round in a tie with Pepperdine for ninth place in the 24-team event. The Waves moved all the way up to third place with a 298 total, the best round of the day. Oklahoma State, which shot a 302 on Wednesday, is in second place at 611, three shots behind Southern Cal. Ohio State is fourth at 616, four strokes ahead of Auburn and Florida. Purdue is seventh, five shots behind the Tigers.

"We came out and played well," Auburn coach Kim Evans said. "We are still only 12 shots off the lead with two rounds to go. We were 17 off the pace last year at this time and came very close so I feel we have gained five strokes. Diana and Danielle had exceptional rounds and Celeste just had one bad hole."

The 72-hole tournament will run through Friday. Auburn tied for second last season at the NCAA Championship, its best finish ever at the nationals.

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