AU's Clanton, Fernandez to tee off at World Amateur Team Championship

AUBURN, AL - For an athlete, there is little greater than being chosen to represent one's country in an international competition. When the World Amateur Golf Team Championships open on Oct. 20, there will be not one, but two golfers from Auburn representing their country in the women's division.

Cydney Clanton and Diana Fernandez both play golf for Auburn University. However, at the World-Am, which is being held in Buenos Aires, Argentina this year, they will be competitors. Clanton will be playing for the United States while Fernandez will be representing her home country of Paraguay.

While two former Tigers have competed in the event before, Clanton is the first American from Auburn to ever play in the World-Am.

"It feels great," Clanton, a senior from Concord, North Carolina said. "Realistically, I didn't know much about the Curtis Cup or the World-Am when I came into it, but to be the first American from Auburn to go feels great. I'm excited to represent Auburn and my country."

Clanton's athletic career has been building up to this moment for a while, particularly during successful summer in 2010. She represented the United States in the Curtis Cup, posting a 2-0-1 record. She also advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur Public Links.

"It was a good summer," Clanton said. "I got to build some confidence. Playing well and getting a win at the Curtis Cup was great because it's just confidence knowing you can win."

Clanton is a two-time NGCA First-Team All-American and has been named to the All-SEC First Team three years in a row. She played in the Curtis Cup, was the North and South Women's Amateur Champion, and was a 2010 Honda Award finalist after finishing in a tie for third at the NCAA Championship.

Fernandez, originally from Asuncion, Paraguay, arrived in Auburn in August as a freshman. She has been golfing for thirteen years, and has become one of the best golfers in her country.

"It has been a lot of hard work," Fernandez said. "I've been playing since I was five, and I'm ranked number one in my country. I was so happy because I know the tournament is going be played in Argentina, and when they told me I was being nominated, I was just so happy."

Because Fernandez just arrived at Auburn, she and Clanton have not really had a chance to get to know each other yet. However, Clanton is hoping that they will be able to spend some time together in Argentina.

"I've only been around her this fall, so we are still getting to know each other," Clanton said. "She is very nice and I could see it going well. We're trying to arrange flights so we can fly there together and come back together. Hopefully we'll get to see each other over there, but I don't know how much."

Going back to Central America is an exciting thought for Fernandez, because it is a place she knows well.

"On the Paraguay National Team, there are three girls and two boys; and I have known one of the girls for my whole life," Fernandez said. "I'm excited because the tournament is only two and a half hours from my hometown, and I'm excited because my mom is going to be meeting me there."

The opening ceremonies for the Women's division are on Tuesday with the first round matches beginning Wednesday morning.

Clanton and Fernandez are both slated for action in the first round. Clanton will tee off at 8:20 a.m. off the No. 1 tee at the Olivos Golf Club. She will play alongside Victoria Tanco (Argentina) and Joana Pinto (Portugal). Fernandez will follow 30 minutes later at 8:50 a.m. off the No. 1 tee. She will play with Caroline Hedwall (Sweden) and Iman Nordin (Malaysia).