AUBURN – At the end of an emotional weekend, Auburn’s women’s golf team did what it had to do. The Tigers finished eighth in the NCAA East Regional at the Auburn University Club. And in golf regionals, eighth is as good as first.
Auburn coach Kim Evans talks to Auburn players/Anthony Hall photos
The top eight advance to the NCAA Championship, and Auburn will be there with the best in their game at the University of Georgia Golf Course May 21-24.
The Auburn women’s golf team will make its first appearance in the NCAA Women’s Golf National Championship since 2010 after finishing in eighth at the NCAA East Regional at the Auburn University Golf Club. The Tigers shot a 6-over 294 Saturday to finish at 13-over.
Auburn coach Kim Evans, beloved by her players, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer shortly before the tournament. She turned the team over to student assistant Danielle Downey. But when the Tigers finished their round Saturday, when they had done enough to win for themselves and their coach, Evans was there to greet them.
“They started out slow, but they made adjustments,” Downey said. “They hung in there, and they finished well. There are some tough finishing holes, with tough pin positions. I am so proud of how they backed up yesterday’s round.
“They knew the pressure. They could see the leaderboards on a couple of holes, and they knew they were on the bubble. They knew and they still got it done.”
When it seemed Auburn might not get it done, junior Marta Sanz stepped forward for the second consecutive day. She shot a 3-under 69 to finish a 2-under 214 for the tournament. She led a charge on the back nine that turned back those who would have taken the pivotal eighth spot from Auburn.
“Today’s round was completely different than yesterday,” Sanz said. “Today I couldn’t hit my irons at all. I got about to about nine greens, and my putter started working. When your putter starts working, you shoot low. I made a lot of important par putts to get me going. On the back-9, I got three greens and made three birdies. I was really happy about it.”
Junior Diana Fernandez finished tied for 26th at 2-over 218 after carding a final-round 76. Fernandez started the round with a bogey on No. 1, but carded a birdie on No. 4 before suffering back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 5 and 6. On the back-9, Fernandez bogeyed Nos. 11 and 14 to finish at 4-over.
Senior Carlie Yadloczky finished tied for 33rd after shooting a 2-over 74 to finish at 4-over 220 for the tournament. Freshman Jamie Yun carded a 78 tied for 73rd at 12-over 228 while sophomore Victoria Trapani tied for 96th, posting a final-round 75 to finish with a 234.
No. 2 Alabama was the easy tournament. Winner. Tulane, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Texas, Northwestern and UCLA also advanced to the NCAA Championship.