HANAHAN, S.C. – A collegiate-best performance by sophomore Auston Kim sparked Vanderbilt to a share of the 36-hole lead at the 16th annual Cougar Classic near Charleston on Monday.
The Commodores, playing in warm conditions with the heat index reaching into triple digits, impressed during a long day of competition that featured two rounds on the difficult Yeamans Hall Golf Club layout. Vanderbilt and Wake Forest will enter the final round on Tuesday tied for the lead with 36-hole totals of 16-under-par 560. Florida sits two strokes behind the Commodores and Demon Deacons.
“I was really impressed with the way the girls competed today. They looked sharp in the practice round yesterday and carried it into today’s play. They acted very calm and relaxed all day and that usually makes it a little easier to make birdies,” head coach Greg Allen said. “I’m excited about tomorrow’s opportunity and anxious to watch my girls play.”
Kim, a product of St. Augustine, Florida, who played in the United States Women’s Open and U.S. Women’s Amateur this summer, leads the 93-player field after a pair of superb rounds on Monday. After opening the day with a bogey, the sophomore reeled off eight birdies to record a 7-under-par 65 in the first round. Kim continued to go low in the second round, making four birdies en route to a 3-under-par 69.
Kim became just the fourth Commodore to shoot 65 in competition, joining current LPGA star Marina Alex, Megan Grehan and Courtney Zeng, who accomplished the feat at the 2018 Cougar Classic.
Senior Abbey Carlson offered strong support to Kim, moving into contention for medalist honors after following up a 2-under-par 70 with an impressive 4-under-par 68. Carlson, from Lake Mary, Florida, is tied for second in the individual race, just four strokes off Kim’s pace.
“This course really fits Auston’s game and it was nice to see her take it low this morning. And Abbey was big for us in the afternoon, especially over her last 10 holes where she made a bunch of birdies and some great par saves,” Allen said.
Junior Louise Yu played consistent golf, finishing with a 1-under-par total of 143. She is tied for 14th place.
Freshman Jayna Choi of Collierville, Tennessee, opened with a 1-under-par 71, but finished the day with a two-round total of 146. She is tied for 43rd individually.
Morgan Baxendale, another junior who entered the tournament off an appearance at the U.S. Women’s Amateur, posted rounds of 74 and 74. She is tied for 49th place with a 36-hole total of 148.
Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Florida will tee off together Tuesday in final-round action. The entire field starts the third round at 8:00 a.m. CT. Live results are available at golfstat.com.
Yeamans Hall Golf Club
Par 72, 6,301 yards
Team Standings (after 36 holes)
T-1. Vanderbilt -16 (278-282-560)
T-1. Wake Forest -16 (283-277-560)
3. Florida -14 (282-280-562)
4. Florida State -2 (282-292-574)
T-5. Arkansas -1 (287-288-575)
T-5. North Carolina -1 (284-291-575)
7. Furman E (287-289-576)
8. College of Charleston +5 (285-296-581)
T-9. Campbell +7 (297-286-583)
T-9. UCF +7 (295-288-583)
T-11. Tennessee +8 (291-293-584)
T-11. Auburn +8 (288-296-584)
13. Maryland +10 (288-298-586)
14. No. Carolina State +14 (297-293-590)
15. Penn State +22 (299-299-598)
16. Georgetown +36 (306-306-612)
17. Boston College +37 (308-305-613)
1. Auston Kim -10 (65-69-134)
T-2. Abbey Carlson -6 (70-68-138)
T-16. Louise Yu -1 (72-71-143)
T-37. Jayna Choi +3 (71-75-146)
T-49. Morgan Baxendale +4 (74-74-148)