Tigers Move Into First at NCAA Golf Regional

Lubbock, Tex.--The Auburn Tigers rebounded from a slow start on Friday and moved up four spots at the NCAA Women's Golf Central Regional Tournament into a tie for first place.

With 18 holes left to play on Saturday, the Tigers are tied at 603 with Missouri, Baylor and Texas A&M. Auburn is one shot ahead of Purdue and three shots ahead of Arizona State.

Michigan State and Texas are tied at 607. Only eight of the 21 teams who qualified for the regional will advance to the national championship event in Sunriver, Oregon.

Playing in heavy winds throughout the day, AU battled its way to a second round 309 team total compared to a 294 on Thursday.

Auburn's Diana Ramage, who led the tournament with an opening day 68, slipped to a 77 on day two, but only one golfer could pass the All-SEC senior, who is two shots off the pace being set by Lisa Ferrero of Texas, who shot a 73 on Friday. Ramage is one over par.

AU coach Kim Evans says the Tigers plan to come out aggressively for Saturday's third and final round rather than play conservatively. "We are really trying to win the tournament," Evans tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "We came here with a goal of playing to win and not to just qualify.

"There are a lot of teams bunched close together so we will need to play well on Saturday, but we are trying to think on the top half instead of the bottom."

Tulsa is in ninth place at 608 and is followed by Arkansas at 611, Kent State at 612, LSU at 614, Wake Forest at 617 and host Texas Tech is 14th at 619.

"We started out real slow out of the box," Evans adds. "On 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 we got pretty down, but we played better on 16, 17 and 18 and we played better on the next nine.

"Obviously, the scores are high today because the winds are ferocious. Being in the last group off the back tee today the wind just got tougher and tougher. Fortunately, we climbed out of it on the second nine. It was as windy as we have ever played in. It was probably 35 to 45 miles per hour."

Ramage, who got off to shaky start, finished the day by playing the final seven holes at two-under-par. "Diana double-bogeyed 10 and bogeyed 11 and bogeyed one and double-bogeyed two," Evans notes. "She played the rest of the day at one over so she really held it together.

"Nicole Hage had a great day," Evans notes. "She three-putted her 16th hole, but still shot 75 and that has got to be one of the lower rounds for the day."

Hage, who is five-over-par for the tournament, is in sixth place with her 147 total. She moved up 20 places on Friday.

Maria Martinez shot 78 after a day one 72. Margaret Shirley shot 79 for the Tigers, who did not have to count the 85 from Jessica Lovell, who slipped from a day one round of 72.

Auburn has a morning tee time for the third round.

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