GREENVILLE, N.C. - The No. 4-ranked Auburn women's golf team carded a 7-over-par 295 in the second round of the NCAA East Regional Championship Friday, dropping to fifth place heading into Saturday's final round. The Tigers enter the final 18 holes of the championship at 1-under-par 575, seven strokes back of second-round leader Duke.
The NCAA East Regional is a 54-hole stroke play event hosted by East Carolina University at Ironwood Country Club. The par-72 course is playing at 6,321 yards for the three-day tournament.
The NCAA East Regional is one of three qualifying tournaments for the NCAA Championship, set for May 18-21 at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C. The top eight teams from each of the three regionals will advance to the NCAA Championship.
The NCAA Central Regional will take place at Otter Creek Golf Course, hosted by Indiana University in Columbus, Indiana, while the NCAA West Regional is set for the Stanford Golf Course in Palo Alto, Calif.
Auburn entered the day in first place with a one-stroke lead over Pepperdine, but struggled to maintain its lead after struggles on the front nine and a surging Duke. The Blue Devils carded a tournament-low 10-under-par 278 in the round to take over the lead.
"We came out like gangbusters and took care of that back nine, we made the turn and we hit a wall," said Auburn head coach Kim Evans.
"We did not have a bad day today, we had some great looks at some holes and some good shots, the chips just did not fall our way in the end."
The Tigers, starting off the No. 10 tee, scored 3-under-par on the back nine but lost its momentum with bogeys early on the front nine. Auburn combined to go just 2-over-par on the final five holes, but the damage was done as the Tigers registered a 7-over 295 for the day.
Senior Cadace Schepperle carded a team-low even-par 72 to finish the day in a tie for 12th at 1-under 143. Freshman Carlie Yadloczky, the team's first-round leader, posted a 1-over 73 on the day and heads into the final round in a tie for seventh at 3-under 141.
"Candace had a really good round today, she had some good looks out there," said Evans. "Carlie played really well, also. She had a rough start to the front nine, but she held on and made a nice round out of it."
Junior Cydney Clanton and sophomore Haley Wilson carded rounds of 76 and 77, respectively, finishing the day in a tie for 44th with 3-over-par 147s.
Sophomore Patricia Sanz rounded out the Auburn lineup with a 2-over 74.
She carries a 5-over 149 and a tie for 59th into Saturday's final round.
Duke holds the top place in the standings with an 8-under-par 568.
Tennessee is two strokes behind in second with a 6-under 570 while Pepperdine is in third with a 5-under 571. South Carolina is in fourth with a 2-under 574, followed by Auburn in fifth with a 1-under 575.
Vanderbilt (579) is in sixth with Tulane (580) and Florida (581) rounding out the top eight.
In the individual race, South Carolina's Katie Burnett, Duke's Kim Donovan, Pepperdine's Danielle Kang and Texas Tech's Rosalyn Kim are in a four-way tie for first at 5-under-par 139. East Tennessee State's Nina Muehl and Tennessee's Erica Popson are in a tie for fifth at 4-under 140.
Even though her team is seven strokes out of the lead, Evans feels like her team has the confidence to put together a good round and win the Regional Championship Saturday.
"They believe they can win, we just have to regroup," said Evans.
"It all depends on attitude and how we handle good shots and the bad shots. It is all about confidence and we are pretty confident right now, the chips just did not fall like we wanted them to."
Action at the NCAA East Regional is set to continue at 7 a.m. CT, Saturday with tee times off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees. Auburn's tee times will begin at 8:06 a.m. off the No. 10 tee with the Tigers playing with South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
Fans can follow all the action with live stats at www.GolfStat.com.