Merrill Leads Vandy to Championship Match

Commodores to compete for St Andrews Links Collegiate title

by Ben Schomberg

ST ANDREWS, Scotland — Vanderbilt women’s golf secured a spot in the championship match of the inaugural St Andrews Links Collegiate on the back of a 1-under-par 71 performance from freshman Ava Merrill on Tuesday. The Commodores finished 13-over par in the second round, carding a two-day total of 29 over and will compete against North Carolina—same as the men’s team—for the right to claim the first title in the history of the event.

“What a roller coaster of a round today,” said head coach Greg Allen. “We played great at times. We got into trouble and made big numbers at times. But in the end, we found a way to hang in there to get the job done.”

Merrill led the way again for the Dores on Tuesday with her 1-under score. She followed up her four-birdie opening round front nine with three on Tuesday, capped by an eagle on No. 6. Her second-place performance marks her second straight top-5 finish individually.

“Ava was really impressive today and came close to winning her first college golf tournament,” said Allen. “She continues to get better every day.”

Fellow freshmen Charlene Chung and Sara Im contributed to the Commodore second-round total as both notched 3-over-par 75 rounds.

“Our freshmen grew up a little bit today,” said Allen. “This kind of pressure of trying to make a cut will help us in April and May.”

Sophomore Lynn Lim carded three birdies in the second round on her way to also recording a 3-over-par 75 finish. She and Virginie Ding each had two-day totals of 6 over, placing them both inside the top 10 at tied for eighth individually. Ding shot a 77 on Tuesday. Tillie Claggett had a 78.

“We’re pumped to be in the championship match and have a chance to win the inaugural St Andrews Links Collegiate,” said Allen.

Wednesday’s championship match between Vanderbilt and North Carolina will take place on the Old Course at St Andrews Links. The Old Course is considered to be the oldest golf course in the world, and its fairways and greens have been touched by all of the game’s greats.

“Tomorrow will be a special day for our program and for these young ladies getting to compete on the Old Course,” said Allen. “We continue to be grateful for this opportunity.”

The championship match will be scored on a stroke total system rather than a traditional match play method. Whoever finishes with a lower stroke total will win the pairing.

The first Commodore to take the tee will be Lynn Lim at 4:45 a.m. CT. Live scoring for the event can be found HERE.