HANAHAN, S.C. – The Vanderbilt women’s golf team swept top honors at the 16th annual Cougar Classic on Tuesday, winning the team championship in thrilling fashion and capturing the individual competition with a remarkable performance by sophomore Auston Kim.
Getting late birdie runs by Kim and junior Louise Yu, the Commodores rallied to edge Wake Forest for the team trophy with a 54-hole score of 27-under-par 837. The final score ranks as the second-lowest 54-hole total in program history.
Vanderbilt used a furious rally to edge defending NCAA runner-up Wake Forest and Florida for the title. Trailing by a stroke late in the round, the Commodores managed to pull ahead of the Demon Deacs when Kim and Yu each made birdie on their finishing hole.
“That was an incredible finish,” Allen said after the trophy ceremonies. “I’ve been on the other side of that a few times so I knew anything could happen. I’m really proud of the fight and the toughness our girls showed late in the round. We didn’t get off to the greatest of starts, but the girls did what they needed to do down the stretch.”
Kim, from St. Augustine, Florida, was a sensational, wire-to-wire victor. The sophomore closed a spectacular performance Tuesday with a bogey-free round of 6-under-par 66. Kim captured medalist honors by seven strokes over Yu, who closed the tournament with a 8-under-par 64, the lowest round in team history.
The individual victory is Kim’s second as a collegiate player, following up an impressive win last May at the NCAA Auburn Regional in Opelika, Alabama.
Kim’s 54-hole total of 16-under-par 200 also establishes a new program standard. It eclipsed the former mark of 204 set by current LPGA player Jacqui Concolino at the 2006 Arizona Wildcat Invitational.
Kim was remarkably consistent and lethal during the two-day tournament. She finished the tournament with 18 birdies and just two bogeys in setting a new 54-hole Cougar Classic record. Kim’s final score broke the former tournament record of 203 shared by LSU’s Austin Ernst (2011) and Florida’s Camilla Hedberg (2012).
Yu gave Kim plenty of support by shooting the best round of her Vanderbilt career. Yu, from Duluth, Georgia, soared up the leaderboard when she became the first Commodore woman to record a 64 in competition. Yu’s bogey-free round included eight birdies, including on four of her final five holes. Yu’s previous low round as a Commodore was a 4-under-par 68 at the 2017 Mason Rudolph Championships in Franklin, Tennessee.
Yu’s 64 lowers the program record of 65 previously set by five Commodores, including Kim in the opening round on Monday.
“I truly can’t say enough about Auston’s 54 holes and Lou’s round today. Just absolutely incredible,” Allen said. “We’ve been waiting for a round like this out of Louise. We knew she had it in her and she had to get over that hump and get comfortable being under par. She sure seems real comfortable being a lot under par.”
Junior Morgan Baxendale and senior Abbey Carlson also added to the Vanderbilt final tally with rounds of 1-over-par 73 and 2-over-par 74, respectively.
Freshman Jayna Choi was the fifth Commodore, shooting a 5-over-par 77 in the third round.
The Commodores return to competition Sept. 20-22 when they host the Mason Rudolph Championships from Vanderbilt Legend Club’s difficult North course.
Yeamans Hall Golf Club
Par 72, 6,301 yards
Team Standings (final results)
1. Vanderbilt -27 837 (278-282-277)
1. Auston Kim -16 200 (65-69-66)
2. Louise Yu -9 207 (72-71-64)
T-10. Abbey Carlson -6 212 (70-68-74)
T-49. Morgan Baxendale +5 221 (74-74-73)
T-61. Jayna Choi +7 223 (71-75-77)