Tigers Struggle On Day One at NCAA Regional

Gainesville, Fla.--Auburn ran into major trouble on the back nine on Thursday and as a result the Tigers are in 13th place in the 21-team NCAA Women's Golf East Regional after the opening round of three days of competition.

Auburn's 24-over-par total of 304 is 21 strokes off the pace set by East Carolina, which came into the event ranked 37th nationally. The top eight teams after 54 holes of play will qualify for the NCAA Championships.

The Tigers, champions of the Southeastern Conference and ranked sixth and seventh nationally this week, came into the event as the number two seed behind Virginia, which finished in fifth place at 10-over-par after Thursday's opening round.

Junior Candace Schepperle is the only Auburn player who had a good round on the University of Florida's golf course. She finished at one-over-par 71 with a solid day featuring two birdies, three bogeys and 13 pars.

Freshman Patty Sanz, who was even par after eight holes, double-bogeyed nine and finished at 76 after a tough back nine.

Sophomore Cydney Clanton, who turned at one-over-par, ran into big trouble on the back nine with back-to-back double-bogeys on 12 and 13. She finished with a 78.

Auburn's two other competitors, Haley Wilson and Sarah Thead, shot 79s. Thead was even par after nine holes, but hit a rough stretch with five consecutive bogeys followed by a double-bogey, two pars and another double bogey on the back nine.

"Today was not ideal for us, but, there is a lot of golf left out there," Auburn coach Kim Evans said. "This is a course that we know really well and this team has responded at the right times this season so we will see what will happen."

"Candace did a great job today and was very steady for the most part," Evans said. "She made the turn at one-over and even got down under par after No. 14, but she had back-to-back bogies after that and finished out at one-over.

"We have to just keep doing what we have done all season and take it a day at a time and a hole at a time," Evans added. "The conditions are supposed to be perfect tomorrow--should be a great day for golf. We have our game plan set, we just have to follow through."

Tulane and Tennessee shot 12-over-par and are tied for seventh place so Auburn is a dozen strokes above the qualifying line with 36 holes to play.


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