Tigers Start Slowly at NCAA Golf Championship

Auburn, Wash.--The top-ranked Auburn women's golf team has major work do the next three days in its quest for a national title.

The Tigers shot a 10-over-par team total of 298 on Tuesday in the opening round of four days of competition at the NCAA Women's Golf Championship at the Washington National Golf Club. That puts Coach Kim Evans' team in a five-way tie for fourth place. The Tigers shot rounds of 300 and 291 on the same course last September to win the NCAA Fall Preview tournament.

Arizona, with three of its five competitors shooting under par and not counting a score worse than plus-one, is the first round leader with a team total of 285. That is three strokes under par for a team that is ranked seventh nationally. The Wildcats are followed by second-ranked Duke and 10th-ranked Georgia, who are tied for second at six-over-par 294. South Carolina, Florida, California and Wake Forest each shot a 298 to tie the Tigers.

Junior Celeste Troche completed her seventh straight round of competitive golf with a score of par or better as she shot an even par 72 to lead the Tigers. Troche had two birdies and two bogeys and finished the back nine with eight consecutive pars.

Junior Danielle Downey had a steady round of one-over-par 73 with three bogeys and two birdies.

Sophomore Diana Ramage was even par after eight holes, but suffered a triple bogey seven on nine. She followed that up with a 37 on the backside to finish at four-over-par 76.

Auburn's Courtney Swaim tees off in Auburn, Wash., on Tuesday.

Senior Courtney Swaim recovered from a rough start that included a bogey on two and a triple bogey on three that led to a front nine 40. She finished the day at five-over-par with a 77 after playing the final five holes at one-under-par.

Kingsley Barrett, the SEC Freshman of the Year, struggled in her first NCAA Championship round finishing 124th of 125 individually. She had no birdies in a round of 84, which included a 43 on the first nine holes. Only the four best scores count in the team total so Barrett's round does not figure into Auburn's opening day score.

Duke's Virada Nirapathpongporn lead the tournament at four-under-par.

"This national championship is four rounds and we have only completed one," Evans said following the round that was played on a cool, damp day that included a light rain shower as the Tigers made the turn. "We battled and battled today, and I am proud of that. Celeste had another outstanding round while Danielle hung tough all day.

"I was real proud of both Courtney and Diana holding onto their round with each counting a triple (bogey)," Evans added. Swaim's bogey was set up by a drive that landed out of bounds. Ramage's triple happened when her ball landed behind a cactus and she unsuccessfully tried to hit a shot through the plant.

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