AU Starts Strongly at NCAA Championship

Albuquerque, N.M.--With sophomore Candace Schepperle shooting a 69 on Tuesday, Auburn is second of 24 teams after the opening round at the NCAA Women's Golf Championship.

Auburn, which is ranked 10th nationally, is tied with third-ranked UCLA at one-over-par 289. Southern Cal, which is ranked No. 2 nationally, leads the tournament at 284. Arizona State, which is ranked fourth, is one shot behind Auburn and UCLA.

Schepperle and the Tigers started in the afternoon group and she came out with her A game with four birdies and five pars on holes 10-18 to turn at four-under-par. She finished with two birdies and three bogeys to finish at 69, which matched her low score as an Auburn golfer.

Schepperle's 69 is two shots off the course record, which was tied by Nannette Hill of Wake Forest on Tuesday.

Margaret Shirley also finished under par for the Tigers with a round of 71. Auburn's two other scores that counted in the four-player team total were by freshmen Cydney Clanton (74) and Sarah Thead (75). Mariana Macias shot a 76 playing on the University of New Mexico Championship Course.

The Auburn's 289 total was its lowest score since competing a the NCAA Fall Preview where the Tigers shot a 288 in the final round to finish sixth at the event.

Going into the event, Auburn coach Kim Evans noted her team was playing well in practice and it showed on Tuesday.

"I am pleased with our overall performance today," Evans said. "We led the field for most of the day, which is a good sign for the days to come. Candace really put it all together today and it was nice to see her do that.

"I thought Margaret stepped up and her experience at the championship really showed," the coach added. "I saw some good things today and I look for us to use this momentum to carry us the rest of the way."

The Tigers are scheduled to tee off at 9:50 a.m. CDT on Wednesday in day two of the four days of competition.

While Auburn's play was one of the positive surprises of the day, at the other extreme No. 1 ranked Duke finished 11-over-par and is in 18th place.

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