April 19, 2018
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Vanderbilt women’s golf squad enters the closing round of stroke play at the Southeastern Conference Championship sixth in the team race and looking to move into match-play competition starting Saturday.
Vanderbilt owns a two-day total of 602 after posting a second-round tally of 18-over par 306 Thursday at the Greystone Golf and Country Club venue. Vanderbilt is just behind Georgia (596) and Florida (599) in the team standings topped by South Carolina (582).
An exciting third round awaits head coach Greg Allen and his Commodores. They will be aiming to finish among the top eight teams from 54 holes of stroke play that will advance into match-play playoffs.
The Commodores will be paired with Georgia and Florida in the deciding third round Friday. They will tee off the first hole starting at 8:50 a.m.
“As I told the girls, what we want is a Saturday morning tee time. And if we come out and play the way we are capable of playing, we will be fine. We just need to do a better job of controlling our emotions and trusting our abilities,” he said.
After earning a third-place team result following the opening round Wednesday, Allen said his squad didn’t respond as well Thursday.
“Today was a bit on the rough side,” Allen said. “It was very similar conditions [as Wednesday] but we didn’t handle it quite as well. The back side played really hard and we had trouble minimizing the damage on No. 14.”
A freshman paced the Commodores for the second straight day. Morgan Baxendale, who came into the SEC tournament off an individual win at the Brickyard Collegiate two weeks ago, fired an even-par 72. Her round included five birdies, including four on the front nine.
Baxendale, one of three freshmen in the Vanderbilt starting lineup, is tied for 12th in the competition for SEC medalist honors.
Abbey Carlson, who notched her first competitive hole-in-one on Wednesday, supported Baxendale with a three-over 75. The sophomore made the turn at even-par after three front-nine birdies, but finished the day with a pair of late bogeys.
The Vanderbilt trio of Courtney Zeng, Louise Yu and Virginia Green struggled to finish on Thursday. Zeng made just a single birdie during a round of 79. Yu, who topped the Commodores with a two-under 70 on Wednesday, did not register a birdie in a round of 80. Green finished the day shooting 81.
On Thursday, the Commodores could not match their superb play from Wednesday on Greystone’s tough par -3s. Collectively, Vanderbilt played the four holes in five-over par Thursday after shooting a stellar one-under effort in the opening round.
SEC Championship (Second Round)
1. South Carolina (+7) 291-291=582
2. Alabama (+14) 286-304=590
3. Arkansas (+16) 299-293=592
4. Georgia (+20) 306-290=596
5. Florida (+23) 298-301=599
6. Vanderbilt (+26) 296-306=602
7. Auburn (+31) 306-301=607
8. Kentucky (+34) 309-301=610
9. Missouri (+36) 304-308=612
10. Mississippi State (+37) 308-305=613
11. Tennessee (+38) 310-304=614
12. Ole Miss (+45) 316-305=621
13. LSU (+48) 313-311=624
14. Texas A&M (+51) 312-315=627