Auburn Women Locked In A Battle For NCAA Berth

A tough day on the links has left the Tigers fighting for a spot in the NCAA Women's Golf Championships.

Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.--Instead of coasting through the third round of the East Regional for a berth in the NCAA Women's Golf Championships at Grand National, the Auburn golf team has a fight on its hands following a rough second round on Friday that saw the Tigers fall from fifth to 10th in the overall standings.

Coming into the day Auburn was in good position to earn one of the top eight spots needed to advance to the NCAA tournament at one of Auburn's home courses. That was before a long day at the El Campeon Course where no Auburn player posted a score better than a 76. Coach Kim Evans says it was a day the team would rather forget about, but they still have one round left to accomplish the goal of playing at Grand National.

"We seemed to have a tougher day than we thought," Evans says. "We made the turn in good shape after playing the backside first, but that second nine we didn't play as well as we would have liked. We're not out of it though. It's all bunched up and if we can post a score tomorrow we should be in good shape. With the field the way it is, finishing in the top five isn't out of the question."

Leading the way for Auburn was sophomore Maria Martinez with a 76. Despite being four-over par after just five holes, Martinez recovered to finish the day even par and top the Tigers' scoring day. Right behind her was freshman Nicole Hage with a 77. Rounding out Auburn's day was Kingsley Barrett with a 79, Jennifer Head with an 80 and Leah Hart with an 84.

Duke (+2) continues to dominate the team competition with a 20-shot lead over second-place UNLV after two rounds. Rounding out the top eight are North Carolina (+21), Florida (+29), Oklahoma State (+31), Wake Forest (+31), Florida State (+32) and Furman (+36). In contention along with Auburn is Tennessee (+37), Tulane (+38) and Miami (+43).

Saturday's final round has Auburn paired with Tulane and Miami. The first tee time for the groups is scheduled for 8 a.m. CDT time.

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