Conference Contenders

Vanderbilt heads to Florida for SEC Championships

by Ben Schomberg

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt women’s golf travels to Pelican Golf Club in Belleair, Fla., to compete in the 2024 SEC Championship beginning Friday.

“This is definitely the most exciting time of year for us and the reason we work so hard from August until now is to have the opportunity to shine in April and May,” said head coach Greg Allen.

Vanderbilt has won the SEC Championship twice in its history, coming in 10-year intervals of 2004 and 2014. At the 2023 event, the Commodores produced a fourth-place finish in the stroke play portion of the championships before falling in the match play quarterfinals for the fifth consecutive tournament.

“This year’s SEC Championship will be a new chapter for everyone as we are leaving Greystone Country Club in Birmingham after about 10 years and moving to the Tampa area and Pelican Golf Club,” said Allen. “We hear great things about this place and think it could be a special place for our championship.”

Playing at 6,150 yards this weekend, Pelican Golf Club is par 70 and has played host to many collegiate and professional events, notably the annual “The ANNIKA at Pelican” and the seventh edition of “The Match” in 2022 with Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods teaming up against Jordan Speith and Justin Thomas.

“Since we’re playing a new course that nobody on our team has seen, we will need to do a good job in the practice round creating a game plan for each player,” said Allen. “Coach Meason and Coach Wang have already done a nice job in researching Pelican, and I know they will create the right plan for each young lady.”

Vanderbilt will take the course with a lineup that has won two tournaments together this year: the Mason Rudolph Championship back in the fall and the Clemson Invitational just a few weeks ago. At Clemson, the Commodores started hot and never let up, winning by six strokes. Graduate student Celina Sattelkau takes on the SEC Championship for her final time this weekend, surrounded by Virginie Ding, Lynn Lim, Tillie Claggett, and Ava Merrill.

“I think the girls are in a really good place right now,” said Allen. “We made sure we didn’t get complacent after Clemson and continue to stay hungry and extremely motivated.”

The field is once again full of ranked competitors as nine of the 14 SEC schools are ranked in the top 25. No. 2-ranked South Carolina leads the field with No. 4 LSU, No. 9 Arkansas, No. 10 Auburn, No. 13 Ole Miss, No. 15 Florida, No. 16 Texas A&M, No. 20 Vanderbilt, and No. 23 Georgia all entering the weekend among the nation’s best teams. Texas A&M won the 2023 contest, defeating Mississippi State 3-2 in a playoff.

“Coach [Scott] Limbaugh always talks about how this time of year is about taking steps and doing your job to get to the next one,” said Allen. “That will be our focus over the weekend—doing our part to make sure we advance to match play on Monday.”

Vanderbilt will take the tee with defending champion Texas A&M and Florida at 7:50 a.m. CT to begin the opening rounding of the championships.

“This group continues to impress me. They are determined and a super competitive bunch that love playing for each other and Vanderbilt,” said Allen. “I’m excited to go on this journey with them this week.”

Live scoring for the event can be found on Golfstat. Monday’s match play semifinals will stream on SEC Network+ and Tuesday’s championship match will air on SEC Network.