HILTON HEAD, S.C. – Sophomores Morgan Baxendale and Louise Yu paced the Vanderbilt’s women’s golf team to a 10-stroke improvement at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, helping the Commodores make a move up the leaderboard heading into the final day of competition.
Collectively, Baxendale and Yu knocked 19 strokes off their first-round totals, firing rounds of 2-under-par 69 and 1-over-par 72, respectively. The duo’s performance sparked the Commodores to a 4-over 288, the third-lowest team tally on Saturday.
The Commodores are in a tie for eighth place entering the final round on Sunday. The team’s 18-over total through two rounds is just seven strokes out of fourth place.
Senior Courtney Zeng is the low Commodore through 36 holes of stroke play, tied for 14th place in the medalist competition after shooting a 2-over-par 73 in the second round.
Head coach Greg Allen was delighted with the rebound from Baxendale and Yu, and eager to see the team continue to improve in the third round Sunday.
“Today was a good round that could’ve been a really great round without some untimely bogeys at the end,” Allen said. “Overall, I’m proud of the way we played, and I’m so fired up at the way Mo (Baxendale) and Lou (Yu) responded today. We really challenged them after the round yesterday and they handled it like champs.
“I’m also proud of how Auston (Kim) played her last eight holes. I think that’s huge for her going into Sunday. I’m excited to see what we can do tomorrow,” Allen said.
After starting slowly Friday, Vanderbilt gained some quick momentum Saturday with early birdies by Baxendale, Carlson, Yu and Zeng. The Commodores moved up the leaderboard through the round, reaching sole possession of fifth place before settling for an eighth-place tie with Auburn.
Baxendale put together one of most consistent rounds of the season, registering three birdies and a lone bogey en route to the 2-under 69. It was the sixth lowest round among 90 players on Saturday.
Yu got off to a fast start, with two birdies in her first four holes. She managed to conclude with a 72 without making another birdie.
A pair of late bogeys kept Zeng out of the top-10 individual finishers. She posted a 73 with the aid of three birdies.
Junior Abbey Carlson made her first two birdies of the tournament. A selection for the United States Palmer Cup captain, Carlson finished with a 3-over-par 74.
The Commodores managed to move up the standings without the help of Kim. After struggling on her opening 10 holes, the impressive freshman responded with three late birdies to shoot 7-over 78.
The Commodores will be paired with UCLA and Auburn in the closing round Sunday. They will tee off at No. 1 starting at 7:30 a.m. CT.
Darius Rucker Intercollegiate Day 2 Results
T-8. Vanderbilt +18 586 (298-288)
T-13. Courtney Zeng +2 144 (71-73)
T-43. Morgan Baxendale +7 149 (80-69)
T-49. Auston Kim +7 149 ( 71-78)
T-49. Abbey Carlson +8 150 (76-74)
T-56. Louise Yu +10 152 (80-72)