Tigers Move Up To 7th At NCAA Championship

Columbus, Ohio--On a day when just five of the 24 teams in the field for the Women's NCAA Championships did better than 10-over par, the Auburn Tigers' women's golf team held their own with a +10 round of 298 on Wednesday and moved up two spots to seventh place after two rounds on The Scarlet Course at Ohio State University.

Auburn was led by the play of Abigale Schepperle in round two as she fired a one-under par round of 71 to best teammate Margaret Shirley by two shots on the day. SEC Player of the Year and All-American Maria Martinez struggled with a 76 in round two, but a birdie on the final hole of the day finished off things on a high note for the Tigers. Auburn's fourth counted score of the day was a 78 by Jessica Lovell. Nicole Hage's 82 was the score the Tigers dropped.

"It was a better day for us," Auburn head coach Kim Evans said. "Actually, it wasn't as complete of a day for us as yesterday, but our finish was much better. There were very tough conditions in the afternoon.

"A lot of times you can try to play too hard and I think that is what we saw out there with Nicole (Hage) and Maria (Martinez) and with this course you can't do that," Evans said. "You have to hold yourself back and play smart on your hole locations. They are trying though and we definitely don't feel that we are out of it, we just have to take care of tomorrow. I am please we have moved up and we just need to keep trying to do that every day."

Margaret Shirley turned in one of Auburn's best rounds on Wednesday.

Despite barely staying within striking distance of the lead and in the Top 10, Auburn will have to play lights out to come away the winner on Friday thanks to the play of Arizona State at the top of the leader board. The Sun Devils followed up Tuesday's best round with a solid six-over par round on Wednesday and are +10 for the tournament. That gives ASU a three shot lead over the Duke Blue Devils for second place.

USC is in third following round two after struggling with a +12 round on Wednesday. Tennessee shot the day's top round with a two-over 290 to move into contention at +17 overall. The rest of the Top 10 is Purdue and Pepperdine tied at +20, Auburn, Florida (+24), LSU (+29) and California (+30).

The news wasn't all good for the SEC in round two as Georgia, Arkansas and Alabama all struggled on day two and find themselves on the outside looking at after day two. The Bulldogs fired a +17 in round two and are in 18th place overall. Arkansas' +25 round leaves them one shot behind Georgia while Alabama shot a +29 in round two to find themselves at the bottom of the 24-team field.

With two more rounds scheduled before a champion is crowned the Tigers still have a great chance to make a run at the title. For that to happen they'll need a very good round three which gets underway on Thursday at 12:20 alongside SEC foes LSU and Florida. The final round is set for Friday.

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