Auburn freshman Megan Schofill sports confidence at East Lake Cup

Cy Cyr/Golf Channel

Auburn freshman Megan Schofill sports confidence at East Lake Cup

College

Auburn freshman Megan Schofill sports confidence at East Lake Cup

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ATLANTA — Before the final match teed off Tuesday at the East Lake Cup, Auburn’s Megan Schofill had won her match.

The first player to finish her semifinal match, a 4-and-3 win over Duke junior Miranda Wang, Schofill beamed as she watched her four teammates finish their matches and discussed why she played so well at East Lake Golf Club.

Her confidence and competitiveness made it tempting to forget she’s only a freshman.

“I think we all are pretty scrappy and. … mental toughness is a really big thing for our team this year so I think that’s the main thing: just be mentally tough,” Schofill said. “Match play is so much different than stroke play because after you hit a shot, if you lose a hole, that hole’s over, whereas in stroke play, you’re still kind of carrying that with you whereas match play, you’re just done with that hole and move onto the next one.”

PHOTO GALLERY: East Lake Cup
SCORES: Women individual | Women team | Men individual | Men team

Schofill, from Monticello, Florida, joined a successful Tigers team that is coming off a semifinal appearance at the 2019 NCAA Division I Championship.

This season, Schofill said, the Tigers haven’t had “the best fall.” The team placed in the top 10 in its three events ahead of the East Lake Cup —10th at the Cougar Classic, fourth at the Mason Rudolph Invitational and third at the Magnolia Invitational.

If beginning the fall season with three top 10s, two of which were top 5s, isn’t “the best,” it’s clear to see how the experience of the returning Tigers has rubbed off on Schofill.

“As a team, we’re definitely one of the most confident teams out there,” Schofill said. “Even if we’re not playing our best, we’re still confident in every shot we hit. Just playing junior golf as an individual is (different). Just coming to a team and playing for your team has definitely changed my mindset because if you have a bad round, you’re not as upset with yourself, you’re more upset because you didn’t help the team that day.”

In her season debut, Schofill finished T-37 after shooting a 3-over 219. She followed that up with a T-10 at even par at the Mason Rudolph Invitation and T-2 at 8 under the Magnolia Invitational.

It’s expected for a freshman to feel some pressure or even struggle as they adjust to collegiate athletics, but when Auburn women’s coach Melissa Luellen was asked about Schofill’s transition this fall, she laughed.

“Like non-existent transition?” Luellen said. “She just walked right in and felt comfortable immediately. Just a very willful, strong minded young lady.”

Schofill’s “strong minded” personality came alive in her semifinal match as she faced Wang, a junior and reigning national champion. Schofill finished Tuesday making 12 pars, 2 birdies and just one bogey. She never trailed after the third hole.

“I just really didn’t make many mistakes,” Schofill said. “I made a lot of pars and that’s pretty key out here, just whoever has the least amount of bogeys is going to win. (I) hit the ball a lot better than I did yesterday.”

Schofill finished Monday’s stroke-play round of the East Lake Cup with a 75, third-lowest on her team. Sophomore Brooke Sansom finished with the Tigers’ lowest score, 72, and the team finished with the No. 4 seed on the women’s side.

Luellen was unconcerned about the team earning the lowest seed in women’s competition after stroke play. After Monday’s round, she said she encouraged her team to “clean up” because winning is in reach. The Tigers made 15 birdies Monday compared to No. 1 Duke’s 17.

It’s clear Schofill and her teammates heeded their coach’s advice considering how they convincingly won three of five matches and a spot in the East Lake Cup final on Wednesday. Schofill was joined by Sansom and junior Mychael O’Berry in decisively winning their semifinal matches against the reigning national champions.

“We knew we were the underdog coming into this and probably a lot of teams have written us off, we haven’t had the best fall, so our mindset’s been pretty good to just go out there, play one shot at a time and just give it our best,” Schofill said. “We know we’re a good team and we can hang with the best players obviously. We have a very strong team this year and I think now are people finally seeing it.”

Auburn will face No. 3 Wake Forest in Wednesday’s final. The Demon Deacons knocked out No. 2 Arizona on Tuesday. Arizona will face Duke in the consolation match on Wednesday.

Auburn and Wake Forest faced off in 2019 NCAA Championship semifinals with Wake Forest winning and advancing to face Duke in the final.

Due to expected inclement weather in Atlanta on Wednesday, tee times for the final and consolation matches have been moved up at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Players will play from the first tee for championship matches and 10th tees for consolation matches. Golf Channel also moved live coverage for the event and will broadcast from 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. EDT.

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