BOCA RATON, Fla. — Vanderbilt finished 5-over-par as a team Tuesday and fell to a third-place finish at the FAU Paradise Invitational.
The Commodores, in their first event of the spring season, were just two strokes behind champion Michigan State which was the only team to not shoot over par during the final 18 holes at the Boca Lago Country Club.
“I thought we fought hard until the very end but unfortunately came up a couple short,” Vanderbilt head coach Greg Allen said. “It was fun being in the hunt again and I think this group will take away a lot of positives that will benefit us down the road.”
Sophomore Celina Sattlekau carded an impressive finish by shooting a 1-under-par 71 to finish tied for third at 3-under for the tournament. Auston Kim also finished in the top 10 at 1-under for the event after a 7-over-par Tuesday – the junior came in eighth.
As a team, Vanderbilt got off to a rocky start Tuesday by shooting 4-over through six holes and falling seven shots backs of leader Michigan State. Kim dropped four shots off her total and was six shots back of the individual lead at that point.
The Commodores made the turn at 6-under for a team and crept within five shots of Maryland. Both Kim and Sattelkau were inside the top five at that point.
Vandy begin to steady itself from there and gain momentum on the back nine. After 11 holes the Dores found themselves one back of South Florida with Kim in third and Sattelkau in fourth.
“We got off to a very shaky start which made a few of the girls very uncomfortable,” Allen said. “But I’m OK with that because we’ve got to learn to deal with it and I’d rather learn to manage it now than in April and May. Obviously, Auston didn’t have her best stuff today but she never gave up.”
With three holes to play the Commodores found themselves just two strokes back of leader South Florida with Kim (-5) and Sattelkau (-3) pacing the squad. But Michigan State was able to surge ahead to capture the team title by one shot over Maryland.
Virunpat Olankitkunchai of Maryland took home the individual trophy by shooting an 11-under-par.
The Commodores will turn their attention to the Lady Gator Invitational in Gainesville, Florida, on Feb. 21-23.