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Tigers advance to NCAA Golf match play with late birdie barrage

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Tigers advance to NCAA Golf match play with late birdie barrage

With sophomore Elina Sinz leading the way, the Auburn Tigers put the pedal to the metal on the race to the finish line to qualify for match play at the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships on Monday.

The Tigers played their final two holes at six-under-par and that helped move Auburn into Tuesday’s match play quarter-finals at Scottsdale, Ariz., Vs. UCLA with room to spare.

On their 72nd hole the Tigers got birdies from Sinz, Mychael O’Berry and Kaleigh Telfer along with an eagle three from Megan Schofill to help Auburn finish in fifth place and make the eight-team cut seven strokes ahead of eighth-place Georgia, the final qualifier.

“It was a super strong finish,” Coach Melissa Luellen said. “On 16, 17 and 18 it was birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie, eagle. We really work hard on finishing our rounds the last five holes. We did the something similar last week at the regionals.

“It was looking a little dicey there for a while,” Luellen said. “We were 12 shots in the clear after nine holes and then after the 13th hole we were down to a two-shot clearance. After that we just pulled away. ”

Auburn, which came into the NCAA Tournament ranked 17th nationally, joins No. 1 ranked Stanford as the only two teams to advance to match play in back-to-back seasons. The Tigers and the Cardinal also advanced to match play in 2019 and the 2020 tournament was not played due to the pandemic.

The Tigers are scheduled to play No. 15 ranked UCLA in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 seed match on Tuesday. The winner of that match will play later in the day in the semi-finals vs. the winner of Stanford vs. Georgia. The championship will be decided on Wednesday.

Auburn finished its Monday round at two-over-par 290, matching its best score of the tournament posted in round two. Auburn’s four-day total is 1,175, six shots behind UCLA.

Stanford finished first at nine-over-par 1,161 followed by No. 2 Oregon at 1,164 and No. 19 Texas A&M finished third at 1,166.

The other teams that qualified for match play are 10th-ranked Florida State in sixth place at 1179, four shots behind Auburn, along with No. 5 San Jose State at 1,181 and No. 27 Georgia at 1,182. Host Arizona State, which is ranked No. 7 nationally, finished two strokes behind Georgia to miss the cut.

With the help of three consecutive birdies on holes 6, 7 and 8, Sinz posted Auburn’s best round of the day with a two-under-par 70 at the Grayhawk Golf Club. She finished Monday’s round with five birdies, two bogeys and 11 pars.

Elina Sinz rolls in her birdie putt on 18 in Monday’s round. (Photo: Gregory Ostendorf / AU Athletics)

“She played great for us the last round in Stillwater and the last two days she played really solid,” Luellen said of Sinz. “She is the first one out for us and she is hitting fairways and greens, and she is putting well. She likes these greens. ”

Schofill finished at one-under-par with a big bounce back round of 71 after shooting an 82 on Sunday. The junior’s round on Monday included four birdies, three bogeys, one double bogey, one eagle and nine pars.

“I thought Megan Schofill’s turnaround from just an awful day yesterday was pretty spectacular,” Luellen said. “For her to finish with an eagle on the 18th hole was a thing of beauty. It was so fun for me to be watching all of those great shots and great finishes on the 18th hole. ”

Anna Foster, a sophomore, posted the third best score of the day for the Tigers at plus two over par 74. She finished with two birdies, four bogeys and 12 pars.

A pair of seniors, O’Berry and Schofill, each posted rounds of 75. O’Berry finished with four birdies, three double bogeys, two double bogeys and nine pars. Telfer’s scorecard included three birdies, four bogeys and one double bogey and 10 pars.

The Golf Channel plans coverage of Tuesday’s match play beginning at 11 am CDT.

“We were working really hard to play great today so we did not put ourselves in a stressful position,” Luellen said. “What I really most admired is after they made a couple of doubles (bogeys) on 10, and missed a short putt for par that was frustrating, they really buckled down, put it behind them and finished.”

NCAA Women’s Golf Scores

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