Dores Hoist NCAA Regional Hardware

Vanderbilt routs field to advance to NCAA Championships

FRANKLIN, Tenn. –  The Commodores are destined for the desert.

Vanderbilt punched its ticket to the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships after running away from the field Wednesday at Legends Golf Club. The Commodores secured their first NCAA Regional title since 2019 with a final-round 9-under 279, the lowest round of any team throughout the three-day event.

“We knew coming into today that it wouldn’t be easy, head coach Greg Allen said. “It’s never easy in the final round of a regional, but the girls felt comfortable with our game plan and they went out there and executed it really well.

“Burger (Associate head coach Emilie Meason) also put a lot of hard work in with the girls the last month, and it really showed off this week. They had a really good game plan and they executed it well.”

Vandy will be making its 11th NCAA Championships appearance, with its last being in 2019 at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas. They also played in the 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2007, 2004, 2003 and 2002 NCAA Championships.

Vanderbilt’s 16-under (288-281-279) through 54 holes came after the Dores continued to improve round after round in front of a raucous hometown crowd. Their 54-hole score of 848 is the ninth-lowest score in program history, while their final round of 279 (-9) is tied for 17th overall.

“While we were having rough finishes in the month of March, I kept telling them that our time was coming,” Allen said. “They kept believing. This is our time.”

Second-place Alabama was eight strokes behind Vanderbilt and earned a spot in the postseason finale along with ACC champions and No. 1 seed, Wake Forest (-3), and Texas A&M (+3). All four teams advanced to the NCAA Championships at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Senior Auston Kim finished her home career with a final-round 68 for a fourth-place finish at 5-under. Kim finished a nearly bogey-free round, firing five birdies and one bogey on the day.

She was joined by juniors Jayna Choi (T-7th) and Tess Davenport (T-9th) in the top 10. Choi’s final-round 2-under came with five birdies on the back nine to give her a career-best 54-hole 212. She also boasted the third-highest birdie total with 16. Davenport’s 3-under 54-hole score marked a season-low and she finished in a three-way tie for first in par-3 scoring (2-under).

Louise Yu, a fifth-year senior who recently earned her graduate degree, was stellar with a bogey-free 3-under and tied for 21st. She matched a season-low round of 69 for the third time on the season.

Showing consistency throughout the tournament, both Yu and Kim finished second in pars at 39.

“Auston Kim and Louise Yu have won two regionals in their career at Vanderbilt and in my opinion there’s no more pressure in a golf tournament than playing in a regional and they’ve got two wins,” said Allen. “Celina (Sattelkau) was great today and so was Jayna Choi’s finish. It was also great to see Tess (Davenport) keep fighting after just an okay day for her, but she hung in there and made some birdies coming down the stretch.”

Junior Celina Sattelkau was steady throughout the tournament and checked in at even-par for a share of 15th.

“I want to thank Jarrod (Kepple), Micah (Hicks) and Kass (Kovalcheck) at Legends for having our golf course in perfect condition,” Allen said. “After a really hard winter and tough spring, the golf course was perfect. The Legends staff does such a great job in hosting golf tournaments and for them, along with our volunteers coordinator David Maples, and our director of operations, Virginia Green, pulling this off in about four months is pretty incredible.”

In the individual competition, Alabama’s Polly Mack (-12) took home medalist honors. Wake Forest’s Rachel Kuehn, who is on the ANNIKA Award Spring watch list, and Texas A&M’s Jennie Park, both posted an 8-under to tie for second.

UTSA’s Camryn Carreon (-4) and Natalia Yoko (-3) of Augusta qualified for the NCAA Championships as individuals.

The NCAA Championships will take place May 20-25 at Grayhawk Golf Club (Raptor Course) in Scottsdale, Arizona. The first three days (May 20-22) will feature stroke play, with the top 15 teams and nine individuals advancing to the final round of stroke play on May 23. Following play on May 23, the top eight teams for match play will be determined, as will the individual medalist.

The quarterfinals and the semifinals of match play will take place on May 24, with the championship match on May 25. Live coverage of the final round of stroke play and all rounds of match play will be televised live on GOLF Channel.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our young ladies and with what we did at Auburn in 2019, I think we kind of got content by just qualifying, but this group is still hungry and they want to go make some noise in Scottsdale,” Allen noted.

“They want to try to make that cut and play Monday to get a tee time for Tuesday into match play. So we’re going to celebrate our two seniors on Friday and then get back to work and then head to Scottsdale next week and look forward to an exciting time out there.”

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