ORLANDO, Fla. – Superb second-round performances by Auston Kim and Courtney Zeng on Monday enabled the Vanderbilt women’s golf team to vault into the team lead at the UCF Challenge.
Kim, a freshman from St. Augustine, Florida, and Zeng, a senior from Orlando, fired rounds of 6-under-par 66 and 4-under-par 68 over the 6,348-yard Eagle Creek Golf Club layout, highlighting a 11-under team score of 277. The team total gave Vanderbilt a two-shot advantage over Miami (Fla.) with a 36-hole total of 560 (283-277).
Kim and Zeng also are in the hunt for stroke-play honors with the closing 18 holes on tap for Tuesday. Kim, who stands at 8-under par after rounds of 70-66, is one stroke off the pace set by Miami’s Anna Backman. Zeng, at 6-under par with rounds of 70-68, is tied for fourth place in the medalist race.
The Commodores enter the final round on Tuesday looking for their second tournament title of the 2018-19 campaign, and first UCF Challenge crown in seven appearances.
Head coach Greg Allen was delighted with the Commodores’ second-round performance that featured 16 birdies and an eight-under par total on the four par 5’s.
“I told them after the round that I was pleased with their patience and I actually thought that started (Sunday) in the first round,” Allen said. “From a ball-striking standpoint, we’re hitting it well. The big difference was on the green – today we made more putts.
“Auston and Courtney continued their excellent play. Auston’s hitting the ball well and dominating the par 5’s, but I’m just as proud of the adjustments she’d made in both rounds. Courtney is playing really well and very steady. I also thought Morgan (Baxendale) and Louise (Yu) give us a big lift today by making late birdies,” Allen added.
Kim matched the best round of her brief collegiate career, making six birdies without a bogey. At one time in the round, Kim registered four birdies in a six-hole stretch.
Zeng nearly matched Kim’s superb effort. Playing in her hometown, Zeng also a bogey-free round that featured four birdies.
Yu recovered from an early bogey with two birdies en route to a 1-under-par 71. Baxendale, a sophomore from nearby Windermere, finished with a pair of late birdies to finish at even-par 72.
Junior Abbey Carlson, also from the Orlando area, made two birdies during a round of 3-over-par 75.
Sophomore Virginia Green shot a 6-over-par 78 competing in the individual race.
UCF Challenge Team Standings
1. Vanderbilt 283-277 – 560
Vanderbilt Individual Scores
2. Auston Kim (-8) 70-66 – 136
T-4. Courtney Zeng (-6) 70-68 – 138
T-34. Morgan Baxendale (E) 72-72 – 144
T-45. Abbey Carlson (+2) 71-75 – 146
T-57. Louise Yu (+3) 76-71 – 147
Other Vanderbilt Participants
T-92. Virginia Green (+12) 78-78 – 156