HILTON HEAD, S.C. – Courtney Zeng and Auston Kim posted top-10 individual performances Friday in an otherwise disappointing opening round for the Vanderbilt golf team at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate.
Zeng, a senior from Orlando, Florida, and Kim, a freshman from St. Augustine, Florida, fired even-par rounds of 71 to pace the Commodore effort at the Rucker Intercollegiate.
While Zeng and Kim finished the opening round tied for 10th place individually, their Vanderbilt teammates struggled over difficult Pete Dye Course at Long Cove Club. As a result, the Commodores will enter the second round tied for 10th place in the team standings.
Facing one of the strongest fields of the season, the Commodores started slowly, collectively posting four double bogeys and a quadruple bogey in the first five holes. Afterward, the Vanderbilt contingent settled down but was able to combine for four birdies on the back nine.
Remarkably, Vanderbilt participants Abbey Carlson, Morgan Baxendale and Louise Yu did not collect a single birdie during the round.
Head Coach Greg Allen was optimistic despite the Commodores’ start.
“Honestly, I liked the fight we showed today,” Allen said. “This course can really punch you in the gut if you make a mistake. I was really proud of how Auston, Court (Zeng) and Abbey fought back after early doubles, and I expect Lou (Yu) and Mo (Baxendale) to bounce back tomorrow.
“Obviously, I wish we had scored better today but I’m excited to see how we respond Saturday and Sunday,” he added.
Zeng and Kim responded impressively after carding early double bogeys, with Zeng posting four birdies over her last 15 holes and Kim registered a pair of birdies and no bogeys over her final 17 holes.
Carlson, who was named to the United States Arnold Palmer Cup squad on Wednesday, posted a round of 5-over-par 76 that did not include a birdie. She is tied for 52nd place in the medalist competition.
Baxendale and Yu, who both entered the Rucker Intercollegiate in strong form, managed 9-over-par rounds of 80.
The Commodores, who are aiming for their third consecutive tournament win, will be paired with Arkansas and Georgia in the second round Saturday. They will tee off No. 10 starting at 9:10 a.m. CT.
Darius Rucker Intercollegiate Day 1 Results
T-11. Vanderbilt +14 298
T-10. Auston Kim E 71
T-10. Courtney Zeng E 71
T-52. Abbey Carlson +5 76
T-81. Morgan Baxendale +9 80
T-81. Louise Yu +9 80