SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – On a hot desert day, Vanderbilt junior Celina Sattelkau sits in the top 10 after the opening round of the NCAA Championships on Friday.
“I thought we looked really solid the first 11 holes, but we sure didn’t handle those last seven very well,” said head coach Greg Allen.
Sattelkau, a product of Neustadt, Germany, posted a score of 72 on the Raptor Course at Grayhawk Golf Club after four birdies on the front nine. She’s tied for sixth place in the medalist competition, just four strokes off the lead set by Stanford’s Rose Zhang.
“Celina played really well today and seems to always show up for big rounds,” said Allen.
As a team, the Commodores battled through to finish 24th with a 308 (+20) in the opening round. No. 1 seed Stanford sits atop the team standings, holding a three-stroke advantage over SEC foe Texas A&M, after firing 289 (+1). Pac-12 opponent UCLA rounds out the top three at 295 (+7). The top 15 teams through 54 holes advance to the final round of stroke play.
The par-72 course that is 6,340 yards in length certainly challenged the field of top college golfers. No team is under par through 18 holes and the average score among the individual field was 76.23.
The Dores started out strong, but struggled on the back nine, where all five individuals in Vandy’s lineup were over par. Vandy combined to collect 11 birdies, with four coming from Sattelkau on the front nine.
Senior Auston Kim is four strokes behind Sattelkau at 76 (+4) and is tied for 55th.
“Auston really fought hard today after a sluggish start to get it back to even(-par) late in the round, but unfortunately didn’t finish like she usually does,” noted Allen.
A trio of Dores – fifth-year senior Louise Yu, and juniors Tess Davenport and Jayna Choi – are each tied for 108th with 80 (+8).
In the individual medalist competition, only five out of 132 players were under par after the first round. Zhang, who’s ranked No. 1 nationally by Golfweek and Golfstat, sits in first at 4-under par after carding an eagle and four birdies, along with a bogey-free back nine. Texas A&M’s Zoe Slaughter is one-stroke behind at 3-under par after a bogeyfree round that included three birdies. TCU’s Sabrina Iqbal, UCLA’s Ty Akabane and Stanford’s Sadie Englemann round out the top five at 1-under par.
Vandy will once again be paired with Mississippi State and Purdue for Saturday’s second round, but will be part of the afternoon wave beginning at 2:36 p.m. CT off the 10th tee. Choi will begin play for the Dores and live scoring for the event can be found here.
“Although today wasn’t our day, I still believe in this team,” said Allen. “We obviously have a lot of work to do the next two days, but I truly believe this team has what it takes to make it to Monday.”