AU Holds Lead At SEC Women's Golf Championship

Tunica, Miss.--Auburn's eight-shot lead was cut to three strokes after the second of two rounds at the SEC Women's Golf Championship on Saturday.

The Tigers shot a team total 302, 14 strokes over par and 11 strokes off the pace of their first round. LSU improved from a first-day 303 to 293 on Saturday to move into second place.

Auburn sophomore Nicole Hage, the first round leader with a 69, slumped to a 76 and now shares the lead with Jessica Shepley of Tennessee at 145.

Auburn's Margaret Shirley shot a two-over-par 74 on Saturday and is tied for fourth place at 147. Junior Maria Martinez shot a 75 on Saturday and is tied for ninth place at 149.

Auburn senior Diana Ramage shot a 77 and is tied for 16th at 152. Jessica Lovell's 80 was not counted with only the top four scores being used to calculate the team score.

Auburn coach Kim Evans said that tougher pin locations and wind at the end of round two made the scores higher for most teams. "I thought the course played a little more difficult on Saturday than it did on Friday," she said.

Despite Shepley's tie for the individual lead, the Lady Volunteers of Tennessee dropped 10 strokes behind the pace and fell from second into a third place tie with Georgia at 603. The Bulldogs shot a 302 Saturday and the Lady Razorbacks of Arkansas were eight strokes off their day one total to finish at 610.

Auburn coach Evans said she wants to see her team play better in Sunday's final round and also be more aggressive. "The key for us to play more aggressive and play well all the way to the end. This course is up and down and is one where the lead can change several times.

"We had a big lead after the first day and we just didn't come out and go after it, which is typically what happens in golf. We didn't get off to a good start, but we had a better back nine than we did (Friday)."

Florida is sixth 611, one shot behind Arkansas, and is followed by South Carolina at 614, Alabama at 619, Kentucky and Vanderbilt at 624, Mississippi State at 642 and host Ole Miss brings up the rear at 649, 73 strokes over par.

Hage got off to a strong start with two birdies on the front nine to go five under par, but lost four strokes to par with a pair of double bogeys on the front nine. Then she had three straight bogeys from 12-14 before making a birdie to finish at 76.

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