Auburn Women's Golf Wins 2011 SEC Championship
AUBURN – The No. 20/18 Auburn women’s golf team carded a 3-over-par 291 in the final round of the Southeastern Conference Championship, holding off a final-round run from defending champion Alabama to come away with the title. The Tigers finished the tournament with an even-par 864, coming in 11 strokes ahead of the second-place Crimson Tide.
Auburn senior Cydney Clanton was the top Tiger at the tournament, finishing in third place in the 60-player. Clanton carded a final-round 1-over 73 to finish with a 2-under-par 214.Tennessee’s Erica Popson won medalist honors with a 6-under 210. Georgia’s Marta Silva Zamora carded the low final round, posting a 6-under 67 to finish the tournament in second with a 5-under 211.
Conducted by the SEC and Auburn University, the SEC Championship was a 54-hole stroke play tournament played at the Auburn University Club. The tournament featured eight teams ranked in the top 25 in the nation. The par-72 course played at 6,364 yards for the tournament.
For Auburn, the SEC team title is its eighth overall, the seventh for head coach Kim Evans and the team’s second in the last three years. The Tigers are now tied with Georgia with eight SEC titles, trailing only Florida with 11. The trio of teams have combined to win 27 of the 31 SEC women’s golf championships.
“I think this team wanted it so bad, and all year I’ve been working together to piece some great tournaments,” said Evans. “Individually, they kept on achieving, but as a team they hadn’t been. They decided that they were going to put their head in it, mainly their heart, and pulled it off.”
Of Auburn’s eight SEC titles, this is the first one won at home. The Tigers are the second team in a row to win the SEC title on their home course after Alabama accomplished the feat last season. Prior to Alabama, it had been 18 years since LSU won at home in 1992.
“We host every 12 years, and we got one at home,” said Evans. “These kids had a goal from day one - to take this tournament, and they did. I am very impressed with how they did it.”
Auburn started the day with a nine-stroke lead over Alabama, but saw the lead slide to as few as four strokes midway through the round. The Tigers bounced back to play the back nine at 4-under-par, extending the lead to 11.
“I am very proud of the girls,” said Clanton, Auburn’s lone senior in the lineup. “We had a meeting before the tournament and told each other that we were going to stay positive and that we needed to hold each other accountable. We stayed positive all week, we didn’t get ahead of ourselves, and we just played golf.”
All five Tigers finished in the top 20 of the tournament field with four in the top 15. Clanton led the way in third place, followed by junior Haley Wilson in 11th. Sisters Patricia and Marta Sanz tied for 14th while Carlie Yadloczky finished in a tie for 19th.
Marta Sanz had Auburn’s low individual round, carding a 1-under 71. The highlight of her round came on No. 15 as she carded an eagle to put her under par for the first time. After making the turn at 2-over, she posted a pair of birdies and an eagle, along with a bogey on No. 18. Her 71 gave her a tournament-total 6-over 222.
Wilson, a native of nearby Ft. Mitchell, Ala., came in at even-par 72, finishing in 11th place with a 4-over 220. Wilson came into No. 18 at 1-over for the day, but chipped in from the bunker on the right side of the green to get to even-par.
“I couldn’t actually see it, but I hit it and it felt pretty good,” said Wilson. “I was just trying to give myself a chance to make a par. The crowd reaction gave it away, because I still couldn’t see it at that point. I was trying to jump to see it, but I never saw it go in.”
Clanton, making her final SEC Championship appearance, notched her third top-10 finish in the tournament by taking third. She finished in a tie for seventh as a junior and a tie for fourth as a sophomore.
After carding three bogeys in her first five holes, Clanton rebounded to shoot 2-under the rest of the round, finishing up with a 1-over 73. Her tournament-total 2-under 214 ranks as the fifth-lowest total for a Tiger in SEC Championship history.
Junior Patricia Sanz carded a 3-over 75 in the final round, finishing in a tie with her younger sister, Marta, at 6-over 222 for the tournament. Yadloczky rounded out the Auburn lineup, carding a final-round 81 to finish the tournament in a tie for 19th with a 9-over 225.
Individually, it was Popson, Zamora and Clanton taking the top three spots. Alabama’s Stephanie Meadow and Arkansas’ Emily Tubert finished in a tie for fourth with 1-under 215s. Alabama teammates Hannah Collier and Brooke Pancake tied for sixth with 1-over 217s.
Vanderbilt’s Anna Leigh Keith took eighth with a 2-over 218 while LSU’s Austin Ernst and South Carolina’s Suzie Lee rounded out the top 10 in a tie for ninth with 3-over 219s.
In the team race, Alabama followed Auburn with an 11-over 875. LSU placed third with a 23-over 887, followed by Arkansas (892) and South Carolina (893). The Gamecocks had the low final round, coming in with a 1-under-par 287. Tennessee rounded out the top half of the conference in sixth with a 31-over 895.
Vanderbilt ranked seventh with a 33-over 897, finishing just ahead of Georgia with a 35-over 899. Florida placed ninth with a 907, followed by Kentucky (927), Ole Miss (931) and Mississippi State (955).
With the completion of the SEC Championship, Auburn will wait for its selection announcement to the NCAA Regional Championship. Regional s will be held May 5-7 at Daytona Beach, Fla. (LPGA International), Notre Dame, Ind. (Warren Golf Club) and Auburn, Wash. (Washington National Golf Course).
AUBURN - Final round results from the SEC Championship hosted by Auburn University at the Auburn University Club. Par: 72. Yardage: 6,364.
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 - University of Florida - 301-310-296--907 (+43)
10 - Kentucky - 315-304-308--927 (+63)
11 - Mississippi - 316-314-301--931 (+67)
12 - Mississippi State - 315-324-316--955 (+91)
Southeastern Conference Women’s Golf Championship
April 15 – 17, 2011
Tennessee’s Sophomore Erica Popson (Individual Champion)
On Marta Silva Zamora closing the lead on her…
“She played well all day, she turned at 3-under and I just kept telling myself to get my shots and make birdies. I just needed to stay aggressive and make sure to shoot under par. I just tried to keep the focus on myself, and not worry about how she was playing.”
On hitting in the woods on No. 16 and making par…
“I hit it too far to the right today, and it landed in the woods. I was lucky enough to hit it out and get it on to the green.”
On the last hole with Marta Silva Zamora one stroke behind…
“The first thought that popped in my mind was another playoff, but I just remembered what Judi (Tennessee head coach Judi Pavon) said, to just close the door. I told myself to try to make a birdie and stay ahead.”
On being the runner up last year…
“I lost in a playoff last year, and that hurt so bad. Last night, that was all I could think about, was how bad it was going to hurt to lose today. My coach just told me to turn it around and think of how good it is going to feel to win. I told myself to play to win and play like a champion, because I am one.”
Georgia Junior Marta Silva Zamora (Individual runner-up)
On going 5-under in the final round…
“I just played really good, I wasn’t nervous at all. I told myself that I was four strokes back, so I should just go out there and have fun. My putting was really good today, and I kept calm all day.”
On preparing for the final round after yesterday’s round…
“I just did two stupid things yesterday. I just wasn’t thinking yesterday when I made those mistakes. I just went out there today and played.”
On her overall performance for the tournament…
“I usually hit the ball pretty solid, but my driver wasn’t very good. In the end, however, I was able to make it to the fairway and hitting greens. My irons were pretty good, along with my short game. I am pretty happy with my result.”
Auburn’s Head Coach Kim Evan
On wining the SEC Championship at home…
“We host every 12 years, and we got one at home. These kids had a goal from day one - to take this tournament, and they did. I am very impressed with how they did it.”
On how the team coached itself this week…
“I think this team wanted it so bad, and all year I’ve been working together to piece some great tournaments. Individually, they kept on achieving, but as a team they hadn’t been. They decided that they were going to put their head in it, mainly their heart, and pulled it off.”
On the expectations of being at home…
“We had expectations, but we tried to limit them to result. We wanted more expectations in attitude and the things we can control versus the things we can’t control.”
On the individual aspect of the team…
“You start with Cydney Clanton, who is the heart and soul of the team. I can’t say enough about her or enough about her play. Karlin Beck, who is also a senior, she didn’t play, but she is instrumental on how she did play. The competition got real heated with Karlin and Marta for the starting five. Haley and Patty really stepped up. I told Patty that her 5-under round yesterday was the best round of college golf that I have seen in my 24 years of playing. Haley’s chip-in on 18 just sealed the deal for us. Carlie Yadloczky is an explosive player. She brought it for us on the first two days. I can’t say enough about Marta Sanz. She is such a competitor and is just so fierce. Her eagle on 15 helped her seal the deal. We’ve got leaders all over the place. Madison Overbey, Diana Fernandez, and those who didn’t compete play every day with us. That’s what makes our depth so good.”
Auburn Junior Haley Wilson
On the final round…
“It was a pretty steady round. I had some hiccups in the beginning, but kept it going to finish steady.”
On the tournament overall and winning second SEC tournament…
“It’s a great feeling. We went out there today to play. We knew we had some kind of chance, so we went out there and played our game.”
On playing with rival Alabama for a championship…
“You always have to put it in the back of your mind. We needed to play one shot and one hole at a time.”
On the chip-in birdie on No. 18…
“I couldn’t actually see it. I hit it and it felt pretty good. I was just trying to give myself a chance to make a par. The crowd reaction gave it away, because I still couldn’t see it at that point. I was trying to jump to see it, but I never saw it go in.”
Auburn Senior Cydney Clanton
On today’s win…
“It’s a great feeling. We have worked hard all year, but not necessarily got much out of it. We finally won and it’s a great feeling.”
On the team’s performance overall…
“I am very proud of the girls. We had a meeting before the tournament and told each other that we were going to stay positive and that we needed to hold each other accountable. We stayed positive all week, we didn’t get ahead of ourselves, and we just played golf.”
On how tough the conference is…
“I would by far say that we have one of the strongest conferences. Knowing that you are competing with the best, and knowing that you need to expect good golf, that just elevates your game even more.”