Troche Leads Women To NCAA Championships

Head coach Kim Evans and the Auburn Tigers qualified for their seventh-straight NCAA Championships with a second-place finish at the East Regional this weekend.

Baton Rouge, La.--Junior Celeste Troche led the top-ranked Auburn women's golf team to a second-place finish at the NCAA East Regional behind Duke as the Tigers easily qualified for the NCAA Championships to be held May 21-24 in Auburn, Wash.

Celeste Troche finished at five-under par int he three-day event.

This marks the seventh-straight year Auburn has advanced to the national tournament.

"It feels great to advance to the NCAA Championship," Auburn coach Kim Evans said of the accomplishment. "That is what we came here to do. I am very proud of our finish as this regional was highly-competitive and conditions were very different from the previous two rounds. We have been gearing for this the entire season and I am very glad we finished either first or second in each tournament this season."

After relatively calm but warm days the first two rounds of competition, the Tigers were greeted with searing temperatures in the middle-90s and winds blowing from 15-20 miles per hour during Saturday's final round. Comfortably in position to qualify for the championships, the Tigers went about business of winning the regional. That meant it was Troche's time to shine.

Battling Duke's Leigh Ann Hardin for the individual title, the junior finished the day with an even par round of 72. That left her one shot behind Hardin for the individual title, but it was good enough to solidify Auburn's place in Washington. Also helping the cause was senior Courtney Swaim, who tied for third individually after firing a 71 in the final round. Swaim finished at three-under-par at the University Golf Club.

"It was a great tournament and I am very happy that we are going to the NCAA Championship," Troche said. "Leigh Anne played some wonderful golf and it was great competing. Now, our focus turns to the championship and I can't wait to get there."

Closing out the scores for the Tigers on Saturday were Diana Ramage, who shot a one-over par 73 to finish at 225 for the week. Junior All-American Danielle Downey finished with a 76 and 226 overall while SEC Freshman of the Year Kingsley Barrett had a 77 to finish at 231.

Danielle Downey

In addition to Duke and Auburn, Wake Forest, Florida, South Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and Vanderbilt all qualified for the NCAA Championship.

NCAA East Regional Stats and Scoreboard

Junior Celeste Troche is a big reason why the Tigers have been ranked No. 1 nationally much of the 2001-2002 season.

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