The Tigers overcame a six-stoke deficit in the final round to finish two strokes ahead of Florida last year to claim its fourth SEC Championship.
Freshman Nicole Hage, who is ranked ninth nationally as an individual, will be in the No. 1 position for the Tigers. Filling the No. 2 spot will be junior Kingsley Barrett, followed by All-SEC sophomore Maria Martinez at No. 3, Jennifer Head at No. 4 and Leah Hart in the No. 5 slot.
Six of the 12 conference teams competing are nationally-ranked, including No. 5 Georgia, No. 7 Vanderbilt, No. 10 Auburn, No. 12 Florida, No. 22 Tennessee and No. 25 LSU. Other teams are Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and South Carolina .
"We're excited to go and try to defend our title," head coach Kim Evans said. "We've been growing each week as a team, and we're just going to take it one day at a time and see what we can do."
Jonathan Dismuke putts during a match at the AU Club.
On the men's side, Auburn senior Jonathan Dismuke was named SEC Golfer of the Week after having a career-best runner-up finish in leading the Tigers to the Billy Hitchcock Intercollegiate championship this past weekend. Dismuke leads Auburn with a 72.79 stroke average on the season. The veteran will lead the Tigers in the 2004 SEC Championship Friday through Sunday at the par-70 6,898-yard Seaside Course in Sea Island, Ga.
The Calhoun City, Miss., native carded a five-under-par 211 to finish two strokes behind medalist Nick Mackay of Jacksonville State. Dismuke fired a four-under 68 after the first round and backed that up with a two-under 70 in the second round to carry a one-shot lead into the final round.
"I am very proud of Jonathan for being recognized for his outstanding play," Auburn head coach Mike Griffin said. "He has been doing it for us the whole season. He had an outstanding tournament."
The defending champion Florida Gators come in as the prohibitive favorite to win it, leading the nation in scoring average at 71.60. The Gators have six tournament wins this year and are poised to make a run at the national championship next month.
The Georgia Bulldogs, South Carolina Gamecocks and Arkansas Razorbacks are expected to be Florida's toughest competition.