Auburn claimed its first SEC Women’s Golf Championship since 2012 on Sunday with a 5-0 win over Mississippi State. The championship is head coach Melissa Luellen’s first conference title as head coach and is the program’s 10th championship.
“I’m so incredibly proud of the entire group,” Luellen said. “Our whole team, all 10 of them, were out here to support. This year has truly been a group effort, and they just had so much poise and maturity to be able to flip all those matches around. I’m just excited.”
Kaleigh Telfer and Megan Schofill were first up for the Tigers in Sunday’s five-player final, winning both of their matches 1-up. Telfer hit a birdie putt on the 18th hole to break the tie and secure the win, while Schofill took the lead on 13 and never let up.
“It feels unbelievable,” senior Kaleigh Telfer said. “This has been a goal for all of us here, and finally all the work has paid off. We’re SEC champions.”
Simultaneously playing on three different pitches, Brooke Sansom, Mychael O’Berry and Elena Hualde Zuniga all led their matches going into the final three holes. With a 2-0 lead entering the final three matchups, it just came down to who was going to finish first to secure the championship win.
Zuniga, the only fifth-year senior on the team, was the first to finish her match and clinch the Tiger win with a birdie on the 16th hole, winning her match on a 3&2.
“I was walking down 16, and I told Joan (Alexander) I want to know what’s going on to see how I have to act,” Zuniga said. “I knew Megan had won, Kaleigh had won and if I won the hole, it was over.”
All five Auburn players either won or finished ahead of their competitors when it ended.
“We’ve been working hard at it,” Telfer said. “We’ve started to believe in ourselves, and I think that’s the key. We just needed to believe. We knew we were putting in all the hard work. We just came together as a team today, and we did it.”
Mississippi State took an early lead in multiple different matches before the Tigers took over on the back nine.
“We talked about it at the beginning of the week, match play is a totally different ball game than stroke play,” Luellen said. “If you get down two, it’s not a big deal. Just stay patient and stay aggressive and try to win more holes.”
The Tigers finished the weekend third in stroke play at 25-under before beating Vanderbilt and Alabama in the quarterfinals and then defeating Mississippi State to cap off the weekend.
“It’s been a lot of hard work by a lot of people,” Luellen said. “From Kim Hall to Andrew Pratt to all of our former players. This is the Auburn Family and the history of the program — these girls represent the Auburn golf program. We just want to do it with class and dignity and do it the right way. I’m a very proud coach.”
Final Match Play Results
Auburn def. Mississippi State, 5-0-0
· Kaleigh Telfer (AU) def. Abbey Daniel (MSU), 1-UP
· Megan Schofill (AU) def. Ashley Gilliam (MSU), 1-UP
· Brooke Sansom (AU) def. Clara Moyano (MSU), 1-UP
· Mychael O’Berry (AU) def. Blair Stockett (MSU), 2&1
· Elena Hualde Zuniga (AU) def. Hannah Levi (MSU), 3&2
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Larry is a senior studying journalism with a minor in sociology. He is from Enterprise, Alabama and is in his third year with The Auburn Plainsman.