ATHENS, Ga. -- The Auburn women's golf team concluded its improbable run through the NCAA Championship Friday, carding a final-round 301 to finish the day in sixth place at 31-over 1183. The Tigers, who were making their first championship appearance since 2010, logged the team's best finish in the national championship since 2005.
"This team has been through more than any team in the nation, more than they deserved," said Auburn head coach Kim Evans. "A lot has been said that they played for me, that they did it under pressure, but the bottom line is that this is a great team with so much talent. They just went out and played their hearts out this week and I could not be more proud of them."
Hosted by Georgia, the NCAA Championship was a 72-hole stroke play championship that took place at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga. The par-72 course played at 6,372 yards for the tournament. The tournament field was made up of 24 teams, eight advancing from each regional site, and six individuals for a 126-player field.
After finishing the first round of the tournament in last place, the Tigers worked their way up through the standings in the final 54 holes. Auburn moved from 24th to a tie for 19th in the second round and from there to a tie for ninth after the third round.
"I'm so proud of these girls, I can't even totally express how I feel," said student assistant Danielle Downey. "As a player, when you are down there in last place, there are two directions you can go. This team did not give up, they came back and fought each day and the way they finished was unbelievable."
Finishing sixth is the best finish for Auburn since taking third in 2005. It is also just the eighth top-10 finish in program history, with all eight of those coming under Evans, and tied for the fourth-highest finish in team history.
"This is a great Auburn team," said Evans. "They are great people, full of individual goals, team goals, heartbreaks, illness, happiness and fun. This makes for a great story, but we can't forget the true meaning: they played with great heart and soul. They are great players."
One of seven teams from the Southeastern Conference in the field, the Tigers were the top finisher in the league. In-state Alabama finished six strokes behind the Tigers in seventh while Arkansas tied for 13th. Florida and Vanderbilt finished 17th and 18th, respectively, with South Carolina in 20th and Mississippi State in 24th.
Individually, junior Marta Sanz led the team by finishing tied for 10th, carding a 74 in the final round to finish with a 2-over 290 for the tournament. Her finish is the highest individual finish for an Auburn player since Cydney Clanton tied for third in 2010. She is also one of just nine Auburn players all-time to finish in the top 10 at the NCAA Championship.
"I am a little frustrated with how I finished my round today, but I am very excited for the team and what we did," said Sanz. "We did this for coach. She deserves it so much. We wouldn't be out here without her and we wanted to give something back."
Also coming in with a 2-over 74 was sophomore Victoria Trapani. Playing in her first NCAA Championship, she climbed her way up the leaderboard each day after opening the tournament with an 80, eventually finishing tied for 29th with a 7-over 295.
Senior Carlie Yadloczky, the only Tiger with previous NCAA Championship experience, carded a final-round 75 to finish with an 8-over 296. Sanz, Trapani and Yadloczky gave Auburn three players in the top 35 of the 126-player field.
Junior Diana Fernandez carded a final-round 80 to tie for 73rd with a 17-over 305 while freshman Jamie Yun posted a 78 to finish tied for 120th at 30-over 218.