The Tigers are now in much better position to be one of the eight teams from the 24-team field that will qualify for a spot in the NCAA Championship event. The Tigers, who are at 583 going into Saturday's third and final round, are three shots ahead of the Tennessee Vols and UCLA Bruins, who are tied for eighth place. The Tigers are one shot behind seventh place North Carolina.
The Tigers will begin their final round at 7 a.m. on Saturday.
Junior Marta Sanz led the charge on Friday, shooting a four-under-par 68, nine shots better than her day one total. The second team All-SEC player said it would mean a lot to the Tigers to qualify for the nationals to honor their coach, Kim Evans, who is taking a leave of absence while recovering from ovarian cancer treatment.
"We have a lot of reasons to get out there and play good because it has been a really, really hard year," Sanz said. "We have had a lot of not expected situations."
Asked why she scored so much better on day two, Sanz said, "I played better today because of my mindset. I was a lot more patient and I went out with less expectations.
"Yesterday, I went out thinking it was my course and I had to play much better. Today I had no expectation--I was just patient, humble and it just worked for me.
"I got to every green, but one, and that changed a lot from yesterday," Sanz said. "The putter worked. I made four birdies and I had no errors or I got pretty close with my errors so that worked."
Junior Diana Fernandez helped the cause with a second straight one-under-par 71 while senior Carlie Yadloczky came through with a 72 in round two.
"After yesterday we were all just ready to get out here and play," said Yadloczky, who improved her score by two shots from Thursday to Friday.
"I thought I played alright, but I didn't really hit my irons all that well," she said. "I made a couple of birdies, a couple of putts and a couple of saves so overall I held in there."
Diana Fernandez hits a tee shot on Friday at the Auburn University Club.
The Tigers got a big boost from Jamie Yun, a walk-on who came through with a 73 so the Tigers did not have to count a score of 79 from their No. 1 player, sophomore Victoria Trapani, who struggled for the second straight day after shooting an 80 on Thursday.
"The little freshy (freshman) did what she had to do," Sanz said of Yun. "Apparently, she played awesome. She got every shot to within 12 feet. She will make those putts tomorrow. We are really proud of her."
Danielle Downey, Auburn's student assistant coach who is in charge of the team this week in the absence of Evans, said a lot of birdies early in the round got the Tigers going as did support from Auburn fans at the course offering encouragement. "I think the girls were feeding off of that," Downey said.
Downey, who picked up her undergraduate degree last week, said making the national tournament would be a big deal for the Tigers, who were the 2011 and 2012 SEC champs, but have not won a tournament this season. "We have struggled and it is a tough field here, too," said Downey, who added it would be an "unreal" feeling to see the team advance to NCAA Championship.
"I am just so proud of them, regardless, of how they have handled everything," Downey said. "I think if we just play our game we will qualify... If we did that it would be the coolest thing in the world--like winning the national championship if we do that."