Tigers Looking for Big Finish Out West

Auburn is ready to tee off at the NCAA Women's Golf Championship.

Albuquerque, N.M.--With six Top 10 finishes at the NCAA Women's Golf Championships going back to the 2000 season, Coach Kim Evans is looking for her Auburn Tigers to make another strong showing at the nationals that start on Tuesday at the University of New Mexico Championship Course.

The Tigers, who are ranked eighth in the coaches poll and ninth in the Golfweek Top 25, are one of 17 Top 25 teams that were able to qualify at one of the three regional tournaments to play on the par 71 course that is 7,248 yards long.

Auburn advanced to the NCAA Championship with a fourth place finish at the NCAA East Regional in Athens, Ga. Eight teams from each regional qualified for the championship, which features 24 teams.

In what has been an up and down season for the Tigers, Evans says she believes her Tigers have made progress. "We are still a young team with our group not having much NCAA Tournament experience," she notes. "I have seen signs that we are playing better and I hope that shows up in Albuquerque."

The Tigers played the University of New Mexico Course last fall and finished sixth in an eight-team field and will see many of the same teams this week at the competition that runs Tuesday through Friday. Southern Cal is ranked first and third in the polls as is Duke while UCLA is ranked number two in both polls.

Evans flew her team to New Mexico on Saturday to have time to get comfortable with the playing conditions at more than a mile high altitude in the desert.

"The way the course is set up, it isn't a desert-style course like you find in Arizona," the coach says. "There is a lot more grass. You can still hit the ball into the desert, but you have to really be off-line to do that."

Evans is sticking with the lineup she used at the regional that includes SEC Freshman of the Year Cydney Clanton at No. 1, sophomore Candace Schepperle at two, senior Margaret Shirley at three, junior Mariana Macias at four and freshman Sarah Thead at five.

Cydney Clanton

The Tigers are scheduled to tee off at 2:20 p.m. CDT on Tuesday.

"The team is ready to play and they are very excited right now," Evans says. "I think they all feel, and I feel, that all five of them haven't played as a team yet, throwing in the same scores on the same day together. Their goal this week is to really see what they can do and pull each other through and get four good scores each day."

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