ORLANDO, Fla. – The nationally-ranked Vanderbilt women’s golf team kicks off its spring campaign this Sunday at the UCF Challenge.
Three Commodores – senior Courtney Zeng, junior Abbey Carlson and sophomore Morgan Baxendale – will be playing in front of relatives and friends as they return to their central Florida roots. Zeng hails from Orlando, while Carlson and Baxendale reside in nearby suburbs of Windermere and Lake Mary, respectively.
The Commodores, ranked No. 3 by Golfweek and No. 6 by Golfstat off strong results in four tournaments last fall, will face 15 teams at the UCF Challenge. Vanderbilt is one of five teams ranked among Golfstat’s top-30, joining Kent State, Purdue, Miami (Fla.) and Michigan State.
The Vanderbilt lineup will feature Zeng, Carlson, Baxendale, sophomore Louise Yu and freshman Auston Kim. Sophomore Virginia Green will participate in the individual competition.
Head coach Greg Allen is eager to see his Commodores back in action coming off a fall campaign that included a team victory in the Mason Rudolph Championship at Franklin, Tennessee and a second-place result at the Powerade Cougar Classic near Charleston, South Carolina.
“I’m always a little anxious for the first spring tournament, but I’m really excited to get our girls back into competitive golf,” Allen said. “I’m looking forward to seeing this team build off the successes we experienced last fall and continue to improve. We still have a lot of room for improvement.
“I think the team really benefited from a recent trip to Scottsdale and we’ve put together some excellent work in the last two weeks, so I’m excited to see how we perform,” Allen added.
The Commodores are coming off their best fall campaign since 2014, topped by a team victory at the Mason Rudolph Championship in Franklin and runner-up finish at the Powerade Cougar Classic near Charleston, S.C.
The 54-hole tourney will be held at Eagle Creek Golf Club, a par-72 course in southeast Orlando that measures 6,349 yards. Eighteen holes will be played each day, featuring a shotgun format start at 7:45 a.m. CT.
The Commodores are paired with Kent State and Illinois in the opening round. Live scoring can be found on Golfstat.com.
How the Commodores have fared in the UCF Challenge
Vanderbilt is making its eighth appearance at the UCF Challenge and is still in search of its first team title.
In 2018, the Commodores notched a tie for fourth place in the 16-team field with the 54-hole total of 880. Vanderbilt has only produced one better team result than last year — a third-place tie in 2007.
The Commodores have fared well in medalist competitions at the UCF Challenge medalist competition. In 2015, Jenni Hahn earned a first-place tie individually, while current LPGA standout Jacqui Concolino finished second in in 2007. Last year, Green and Yu notched top-10 individual finishes.
Vanderbilt’s all-time results in the UCF Challenge follows:
Year Result Score Top Individual Finish
2018 T-4th 880 (304-285-291) Virginia Green, T-3rd (216)
2016 T-6th 895 (309-289-297) Cindy Ha, T-6th (220)
2015 4th 859 (277-282-300) Jenni Hahn, T-1st (207)
2009 16th 890 (298-297-295) Megan Grehan, T-23rd (218)
2008 15th 896 (302-297-297) Liebelei Lawrence, T-27th (219)
2007 T-3rd 898 (302-298-298) Jacqui Concolino, 2nd (217)