Ending winless streaks & saving seasons
I continue to profess that the three-week window each April in which more than two dozen Division I conferences crown their league champions is where college golf is often most compelling.
Just ask Auburn women's coach Kim Evans, the woman receiving the Gatorade bath to the right. The Tigers have been in the midst of their worst season during Evans' tenure, finishing no better than fifth in their eight tournament starts and finishing outside the top 10 in four of them. Yet playing the SEC Championship on their home course, Auburn University GC, the team erased eight months of frustration in three days, taking the team title with an even-par 264 total Sunday, 11 shots better than defending champion Alabama.
Photo: Leffie Dailey/Auburn Athletics
"They showed their heart and soul on that back nine," Evans said afterward. "I could be happier for them. This is a big time team effort."
It was the eight SEC title for the Tigers and the fifth in the last nine years.
Meanwhile, the North Carolina women had gone 19 years since winning their lone conference crown until claiming ACC title No. 2 Sunday with a 24-shot victory over Duke at Sedgefield CC in Greensboro, N.C. The Tar Heels shot a two-over 286 during Saturday's second round, the only school in the nine-team field to break 300 on the day, to take a commanding lead into the final 18 holes. Allie White (second), Catherine O'Donnell (third), Katherine Perry (sixth) and Casey Grice (T-7) each recorded top-10s with the team finishing the tournament at 23-over 875.
The Florida men's conference title drought wasn't as long as North Carolina's but it had been since 2003 that the Gators had claimed the SEC crown until taking the title Sunday at Sea Island (Ga.) GC with a eight-over 848, six strokes better than Alabama. It was the Gators 15th SEC men's golf title and the school's 200th SEC championship in any sport.
Here's an updated look at the conference championship schedule: