AU Golfers Have Strong Day At NCAA Tourney

Auburn, Wash.--After two disappointing days, the Auburn women's golf team played up to its lofty ranking with a three-under-par team total of 285 on Thursday at the NCAA Women's Golf Championships.

That moved the No. 1-ranked Tigers up eight spots in the standings to fourth place by tying Texas for the best team total of the day. The Tigers also made up eight strokes on the leader, seventh-ranked Arizona, which now leads Auburn by nine shots. The Wildcats have an 874 total, Texas is second at 876 and second-ranked Duke is third at 877, six shots ahead of Auburn.

With junior Danielle Downey leading the way with a two-under-par total of 70, three Auburn players finished under par and the worst round the Tigers had to count was a one-over-par by freshman Kingsley Barrett, who had struggled on Tuesday and Wednesday with rounds of 84 and 79.

Diana Ramage chips on the fifth hole on Thursday at Washington National Golf Club.

"I am fired up about our team," Downey said. "All of us came out and played. It is not out of the possibility that we can still win this. We are going to get a good rest and come out Friday and give it our best. All we can ask for is a chance and we gave ourselves that after today's round."

Downey is in fourth place individually with rounds of 73-69-70 for a 212 total. Virada Nirapathpongporn of Duke leads the tournament at nine-under-par 207, three shots ahead of Summer Simmons of Georgia and four ahead of Lorena Ochoa of Arizona.

Auburn's Celeste Troche (218) and Diana Ramage (225) each shot rounds of 71. Courtney Swaim's (230) 75 was the worst round of the day for the Tigers, who did not have to count that in the team total. Only the top four scores are added for the daily team team.

"We did what we needed to do today and I am proud of that," AU coach Kim Evans said. "Our backs were against the wall and we came out and played great golf. It was a total team effort from Danielle to Diana to Celeste to Kingsley and to Courtney. We are just going to come out tomorrow and give it a shot."

Auburn is one shot ahead of SEC rivals Florida and Georgia and two ahead of Arizona State.

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