That puts the No. 1-ranked Tigers in second place, one shot behind 12th-ranked Florida at the University Club course, where Auburn won the LSU Cleveland Classic Tournament earlier this spring.
South Florida is third at 289 and Duke, ranked second nationally, is fourth at 291. South Carolina, which upset Auburn to take the SEC Championship, is tied for ninth at 10-over-par 298.
The top eight teams in the 21-team regional qualify for the NCAA Championships, which will be played in Auburn, Wash., May 21-24 at the Washington National Golf Club.
Celeste Troche shot a three-under-par 69 to lead the Tigers while senior Courtney Swaim shot a 70 for Coach Kim Evans' team.
Celeste Troche (left) and Coach Kim Evans talk during the NCAA East Regional in Baton Rouge, La., on Thursday.
Troche set a school record on Thursday with the most career below par rounds (24). "I am happy with the way we played," says Troche. "It was a good team effort. I hit the ball well today and am looking forward to Friday. This is a tough field, and we have a lot of work left to do." The Auburn junior is one shot off the individual lead held by Meredith Duncan of LSU, Jemeica Duncombe of South Florida and Beth Lever of North Carolina.
Junior Danielle Downey and sophomore Diana Ramage each shot 74 while SEC Freshman of the Year Kingsley Barrett was the only AU golfer to struggle with a round of 79.
"It was a good start for us," Evans says. "We started well and finished strong, and I am happy with that. It is good to post a nice score in the first round, but there are still two rounds to go."