NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Vanderbilt women’s golf team will face another tremendous challenge for the upcoming week when it competes in its second appearance at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge near Los Angeles.
The Commodores will face 10 of the nation’s top-25 teams at the 54-hole, three-day event, at the Palos Verdes Golf Club in Palos Verdes Estates, California.
“This week offers the same thing as last week, a strong field on a very challenging golf course, and I love it,” said head coach Greg Allen. “Palos Verdes Golf Club is a place with really tough greens and we’ll need to keep the ball below the hole.”
In 2019, the Dores were challenged in their first appearance at the tournament, where they finished tied for 15th with host Ohio State. The visit also marks Vandy’s first visit to California since its first appearance at Palos Verdes in January 2020.
“We’re playing with the same lineup we had at Long Cove Club and I know we’re not satisfied with how we finished,” said Allen. “This group is ready to compete again and prove how good we can be.”
A Strong Field Awaits
The Commodores will be part of arguably one of the strongest field of the year in women’s collegiate golf at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. Vandy will be tested by a field of 16 teams with 13 schools currently ranked inside Golfstat’s top 50.
10 of those programs are among Golfstat’s top 25 squads: No. 2 Oregon, No. 5 Wake Forest, No. 6 Virginia, No. 10 Texas, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 13 USC, No. 18 Auburn, No. 19 Baylor, No. 21 Duke and No. 22 Arizona.
The 16-team field also includes five out of the eight quarterfinalists at the 2021 NCAA Championship – Duke, Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn and Texas.
Nine of Golfstat’s top 25 individuals will chase the medalist crown, including three of the top 10 players currently in Division I – Amari Avery (USC), Sara Kouskova (Texas) and Calynne Rosholt (Arizona State) – who are expected to compete.
Behind the Scenes of a Spectacular Venue – Palos Verdes
The Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge is played at Palos Verdes Golf Club, one of Southern California’s most prestigious venues.
Designed by noted Southern California golf architects George Thomas and William Bell, the course is situated southwest of Los Angeles in Palos Verdes Estates on slopes overlooking the Pacific Ocean. More than half of the holes at Palos Verdes feature panoramic views of the ocean.
The course’s par-71 layout will measure 6,017 yards for the tournament. Palos Verdes will also host the inaugural JTBC Championship April 25-May 1, which is an LPGA Tour event that will feature a field of 144 of the world’s best female golfers competing over 72-holes for overall purses of $1.5 million.
History at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge
The Dores are seeking to rebound from their first appearance at Palos Verdes in February 2019, where they tied for 15th with Ohio State.
After struggling the first two rounds in the tournament, Vandy played their best golf in the closing holes during the final round, collectively producing 10 birdies over the final seven holes to secure a tie with the Buckeyes. The Dores fired a 14-over-par 298 in the final round, a four-stroke improvement over their second round score.
Three of the six Dores set to compete at Palos Verdes – fifth year senior veteran Louise Yu, senior standout Auston Kim and junior Jayna Choi – have experience on the course after competing in 2020.
The Vandy lineup features junior Celina Sattelkau, Kim, sophomore Virginie Ding, freshman Natasha Kiel, Yu and Choi, who’s competing as an individual.
Sattelkau moves up to No. 1 after her stellar top-three finish at the competitive Darius Rucker Intercollegiate (Feb. 28-March 2), which aired on the GOLF Channel last week. The junior was the top Southeastern Conference golfer and was one of four to finish the 54-holes under-par at the tournament. Sattelkau’s performance in her return to the course for the 2022 spring season earned her SEC Golfer of the Week Thursday.
Kim, an ANNIKA Award candidate and confirmed Augusta National Women’s Amateur participant, comes in at No. 2 after leading the team with a 71.07 scoring average for the season. Rounding out the last three spots are Ding, Kiel and Yu who stay in the third, fourth and fifth spots in the lineup, respectively.
Choi makes her return to the course competing as an individual. The junior opened the 2022 spring season at the FAU Paradise Invitational in January and competed as an individual at the Vandy hosted Mason Rudolph Championship, where she finished in the top-50.
Last Time Out
At the 10th edition of the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate (Feb. 28-March 2), the Dores were challenged by the Pete Dye Course at Long Cove Club in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. No team had a 54-hole score that finished under par during the tournament.
Vandy finished 9-over-par to finish the 54-hole tournament with a score of 35-over-par 887. The Dores were led by Sattelkau, who matched a career-best finish tied for third with a 212 (-1). Ding tied for 50th while Yu and Kim each tied for 59th. After struggles the first two rounds, Kim moved up 16 spots after a 1-over-par performance in the final round. Kiel rounded out the Dores contingent tied for 68th.
Dores Duo Garner SEC Honors
As announced by the league office, Sattelkau earned SEC Golfer of the Week Thursday, while Kiel was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Feb. 10.
In her first start of the 2022 spring season, Sattelkau posted a season-low round of 2-under-par during the final round and 1-under-par for the tournament to match a career-best finish tied for third at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, which aired last week on GOLF Channel. Out of 90 individuals, the junior surged six spots after the second round to finish as the top SEC player and was one of four to finish the 54-holes under-par. The top-three finish marks the first since stroke play at the 2021 SEC Championships and third overall.
Kiel, a native of New Hope, Pennsylvania, was honored for her performance at the FAU Paradise Invitational in January where she made her first start on the road and finished with a career-low 208 (-8) which tied her for the 12th lowest 54-hole score in program history. In only her second career start, Kiel earned her first career top-five finish, tying for fifth overall, after closing out the tournament with a career-low round of 67 (-5).
Kim Invited to Augusta
Kim has been invited to compete in the third annual Augusta National Women’s Amateur, which will be held March 30-April 2.
This will be Kim’s second appearance in the ANWA after she was invited in January 2020. Her appearance was delayed a year by the COVID-19 pandemic, but made the cut and finished tied for 25th overall at the event in 2021.
NBC Sports will produce and broadcast three hours of live final-round coverage at Augusta National from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (CT) on April 2. They will also provide pre-event promotion across NBCUniversal’s portfolio, while GOLF Channel will deliver highlights, live reports and news coverage throughout the event, including onsite during the first two competitive rounds at Champions Retreat.
Additionally, GOLF Channel’s “Live From the Masters” will commence on April 1 from Augusta National and wrap ANWA coverage on April 2 and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals on April 3.
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