Kaleigh Tefler (Auburn Athletics photo)
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, Mexico (Nov. 4, 2018) – Auburn polished off its wire-to-wire victory at the Battle of the Beach to cap the fall season. The Tigers’ 17-shot win marked their first title of the season, and also the first for the program since 2014. It’s the first under head coach Melissa Luellen.
Auburn entered the final round with a 10-shot cushion, leaving little drama in the team race. The Tigers had a 4-under 280 in the final round at Club Campestre and finished 54 holes at 7 under. They were the only team under par. TCU, looking for a third consecutive victory this fall, charged with a final-round 7-under 277 but ultimately came up short. The Horned Frogs were second at 10 over.
Texas was third at 13 over and Clemson was fourth at 14 over.
“It's huge," Luellen said. "It's what we've been working for. About three weeks ago, we finally started talking about how this team can win. And it's like they just shifted into another gear, like 'Hey, we're supposed to be vying for a championship.'
"They really proved themselves, how good they are. They really left a mark. This tournament had a really good field, and we just took care of business. It was great for the No. 22-ranked team to come in here and beat up on a lot of teams ranked ahead of us."
Sophomore Kaleigh Telfer tied for first individual after three consecutive rounds under par (69-69-70). Both Telfer and Clemson’s Ana Paula Valdes (74-65-69) were 5 under for the week. TCU’s Greta Bruner was third at 2 under while Auburn teammates Julie McCarthy (1 under) and Elena Hualde (even par) were fourth and T-5, respectively.
Auburn extended its lead Saturday at the Baylor-hosted Battle at the Beach. The Tigers went 6 under in the second round at the Beach at Club Campestre and, as the only team under par after 36 holes, leads by 10.
Julia McCarthy, a sophomore, made five birdies on the day, including three straight on holes 11-13. A 4-under 67 is her career best, and she is now tied for fifth overall.
Teammate Kaleigh Telfer remains the solo leader after back-to-back rounds of 69.
"It was a really solid day," Auburn head coach Melissa Luellen said. "Julie [McCarthy] finished her round in a solid manner as she has been struggling a bit lately with that. Kaleigh [Telfer] played very solid despite starter her round with a bogey. Brooke [Sansom] can get up and down from anywhere, so never count her out.
"The goal tomorrow is to win the day and stick to the game plan – shot by shot."
Auburn is coming off a runner-up showing last week at the Alexa Stirling Intercollegiate.
Vanderbilt had a second-round 7-under 277, one better than Auburn, but still trails by 10 after getting off to a slow start on Friday. Texas and Clemson are tied for third at 13 under, 16 shots off the pace.
Led by a pair of sophomores, Auburn climbed the leaderboard in the first round of the season-ending Battle at the Beach at Club Campestre, just a few miles north of Cabo San Lucas.
Kaleigh Telfer and Mychael O’Berry had rounds of 2-under 69 and even-par 71, respectively, to lead the Tigers to a first-round 3-over 287. Auburn is five ahead of Texas in second place and seven ahead of Mississippi State in third.
"It was really a great start to the tournament," Auburn head coach Melissa Luellen said. "Kaleigh Telfer finishes birdie-birdie-birdie on her last three holes. She just kind of has a knack right now and the confidence that she can overcome some bogeys. She just played super solid.
"It was quite windy. The hole locations were tough. It's a tough golf course. So I was really proud of them."
Auburn led the 17-team field in scoring on both par 4s and par 5s, but got the biggest advantage on the long holes. Auburn was 6 under there.
A young Tiger team is coming off a runner-up finish last week at the Alexa Stirling Intercollegiate at a challenging Atlanta Athletic Club.
"It's definitely a confidence booster for the team," O’Bery said before the team’s Battle of the Beach start. "I think it just added a belief that we can compete with the best and actually win. I know coach is talking to us about how we haven't really talked about winning that much. It was just cool to see how close we came and just know how close we actually are to getting it done."
Telfer’s round put her on top of the individual race, too. Iowa’s Manuela Lizarazu and Texas’ Hailee Cooper are next at 1-under 70.
Information from Auburn Athletics used in this report