Lady Tigers Golf Third at SEC Championships

by Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
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Lady Tigers Golf Third at SEC Championships

AUBURN, Ala. – The eighth-ranked LSU Lady Tigers equaled their best finish in an SEC Women’s Championship since 2004 with a third-place finish as the 2011 Championship event finished at the Auburn University Club at Yarborough Farms.

LSU finished third in the 2004 at the University Club in Baton Rouge. It is the best finish away from Baton Rouge since the Lady Tigers finished second in the 2001 event in Gainesville, Fla.

Freshman Austin Ernst posted a top 10 finish for the Lady Tigers in her first SEC Championships, finishing in a tie for ninth at three-over par 219 (73-71-75).

No. 17 Auburn made it two years in a row that the host school has won the conference tournament, posting a 54-hole score of even par 864. Auburn went wire-to-wire to win the event getting the lead with a five-under par round of 283 on Friday and then posting 290 on Saturday and 291 on Sunday. No. 3 Alabama remained in second place after moving there on Saturday, finishing at 11-over 875 (291-291-293). Alabama was the defending champion, winning in Tuscaloosa a year ago.

Auburn wins the title for the fifth time in the last nine years and ties Florida for the second most titles (8). Georgia is the overall leader with 11.

LSU, which opened with a one-under 287 on Friday, shot 12-over 300 for the second straight day and for the Lady Tigers it was another frustrating day on the greens as putts just refused to drop. LSU finished with a 23-over par score of 887, the third straight year LSU had posted under 900 in the 54-hole event. It marked the fourth straight year LSU had finished in the upper division of the tournament.

Junior Jacqueline Hedwall led LSU in scoring with a two-over par score of 74, while senior Megan McChrystal and Ernst had three-over 75s, while senior Amalie Valle and junior Tessa Teachman had four-over 76s.

Hedwall finished alone in 16th place at seven-over 223 (72-77-74), while McChrystal (72-78-75) and Valle (75-74-76) finished in a tie for 19th place at nine-over 225. Teachman finished in 35th at 14-over 230 (70-84-76).

“The girls hit the ball really great,” said LSU Coach Karen Bahnsen. “We just couldn’t get any putts to drop at all. Bottom line we didn’t putt badly, they just didn’t go in. So I figured we are saying them for NCAA regionals and the championship.”

Individually, Erika Popson of Tennessee used a six-under 66 to get the lead in the first round on Friday but needed a two-under par 70 on Sunday to hold off the fast closing Marta Silva Zamora of Georgia. Popson posted a 54-hole score of six-under par 210 (66-74-70), while Zamora closed with a five-under 67 to finish one shot back at five-under 211 (70-74-67). It was three shots back to Cydney Clanton of Auburn at two-under 214.

The Lady Tigers and the rest of the field await the announcement of NCAA regional fields and sites which will be announced by the NCAA next Monday (April 25). The regionals are set for May 5-7 with the top eight in each of three regionals advancing to the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship later in May in College Station, Texas.

“I told the girls not to hold their head down, not to worry about it,” said Bahnsen. “Let’s just go keep working hard because honestly they played well, they just didn’t get the putts to go in the hole. We missed some short ones and you can do that and win championships. We’re close. I feel good. I’m encouraged. This is a tough championship.”

SEC Women’s Golf Championship
Auburn, Ala. – Auburn University Club at Yarbrough Farms

Final Team Results (Par 288-864)
1. Auburn 283-290-291 – 864 E; 2. Alabama 291-291-293 – 875 +11; 3. LSU 287-300-300 – 887 +23; 4. Arkansas 289-305-298 – 892 +28; 5. South Carolina 302-304-287 – 893 +29; 6. Tennessee 285-308-302 – 895 +31; 7. Vanderbilt 295-307-295 – 897 +33; 8. Georgia 292-309-298 – 899 +35; 9. Florida 301-301-296 – 907 +43; 10. Kentucky 315-304-308 -927 +63; 11. Ole Miss 316-314-301 – 931 +67; 12. Mississippi State 315-324-316 – 955 +91.

Individual Top 10 (Par 72-216)
1. Erica Popson, Tennessee 66-74-70 – 210 -6; 2. Marta Silva Zamora, Georgia, 70-74-67 – 211 -5; 3. Cydney Clanton, Auburn, 69-72-73 – 214 -2; 4. Stephanie Meadow, Alabama, 71-73-71 – 215 -1; 4. Emily Tubert, Arkansas, 69-72-74 – 215 -1; 6. Hannah Collier, Alabama, 76-70-71 – 217 +1; 6. Brooke Pancake, Alabama – 217 +1; 8. Anna Leigh Keigh, Vanderbilt, 70-76-72 – 218 +2; 9. Austin Ernst, LSU, 73-71-75 – 219 +3; 9. Suzie Lee, South Carolina, 73-73-73 – 219 +3.

LSU Scores
T9. Austin Ernst 73-71-75 – 219 +3
16. Jacqueline Hedwall 72-77-74 – 223 +7
T19. Megan McChrystal 72-78-75 – 225 +9
T19. Amalie Valle 75-74-76 – 225 +9
35. Tessa Teachman 70-84-76 – 230 +14