RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. – The Vanderbilt women’s golf team achieved everything it wanted over the past three days in Southern California. They claimed another title and gained valuable experience in match-play competition that should aid an upcoming postseason push.
Their head coach, Greg Allen, might have enjoyed the trip even more than his players. He guided the winning performance and captured a personal triumph along the way – successfully proposing to Sarah Moore.
“What a week!” Allen said after his Commodores accepted the Lamkin Invitational winning trophy. “(I) got engaged Saturday and then watched my team win today. Very special days indeed.”
Allen’s Vanderbilt squad continued their impressive assault through the tournament’s match-play competition on Wednesday, defeating California 4-1 in the championship finals at The Farms Golf Club located north of San Diego. Collectively, the Commodores won 12 of 15 matches in three rounds of match play.
It also marked Vanderbilt’s fourth tournament win of the 2018-19 season, matching the most in a season since 2003-04.
Courtney Zeng, Abbey Carlson, Louise Yu and Auston Kim notched match victories in the championship round Wednesday.
“Today was a lot of fun. This team continue to amaze me and I’m really proud of them,” Allen said. “Abbey and Court (Zeng) got big leads early and managed to fight through a little momentum swing midway through the round to win their matches. Lou (Yu) was huge today. It’s always nice to get that first point on the board and she did just that. Auston’s match was a good one too and it was nice to see her get the win.
“We came out here looking to get match-play experience for the SEC’s and I think we learned a great deal over the last three rounds.”
For the second straight year, the SEC Championships in mid-April will feature three rounds of match play to decide the league champion. The NCAA Championships in May also concludes with match play.
Yu gave the Commodores an early advantage by overwhelming California’s Cindy Oh by 4-up margin. Yu notched two birdies and 10 pars in the winning performance.
Zeng, the Commodores’ lone senior, displayed strong leadership and excellent form in a match with Amina Wolf. Zeng’s consistency — 13 pars and a birdie in 15 holes — wore down her Bear rival in a 4&3 victory.
Carlson sealed the victory, earning a 2-up triumph over Maria Herraez Galvez of California. Carlson jumped out to a three-hole lead, withstood a mid-round charge by Herraez Galvez, then notched a birdie at No. 17 to claim the win.
Kim and Cal’s Marianne Li enjoyed a superb match. The Bear standout made six birdies but succumbed to Kim’s more consistent play. The Commodore freshman secured the match win with a par on the closing hole.
Morgan Baxendale, arguably the team’s top player in the earlier rounds of match play, was defeated 2-up by California’s Katherine Zhu.
The Commodores return to action April 7-9 at the Clemson Invitational in Sunset, South Carolina.
The Farms Golf Club
Championship Round (match play)
Vanderbilt defeats California, 4-1
C. Zeng (VU) defeats A. Wolf (CAL), 4&3
L. Yu (VU) defeats C. Oh (CAL), 4&3
A. Carlson (VU) defeats M. Herraez Galvez (CAL), 2&1
A. Kim (VU) defeats M. Li (CAL), 1-up
K. Liu (CAL) defeats M. Baxendale (VU) 2&1