|Golfers Host Rudolph Championships
By Brent Ross
As students head back to school and summer begins to turn to fall, the
Vanderbilt golf teams are preparing to host the second annual Mason Rudolph
Championships. The Championships will be contested at The Legends Club of
Tennessee in Franklin, Tenn., with the men's tournament Sept. 14-16 and the
women's tournament Sept. 21-23.
The women's squad is coming off its first-ever appearance in the NCAA
Championships last spring where the Commodores finished 18th. However,
winning tournaments is the next step for Vanderbilt and the Commodores would
like nothing more than to start their winning ways at their own event.
"If the kids don't take the course for granted and pay attention, then
playing on your home course should give you a competitive edge," said
Vanderbilt Women's Golf Coach Martha Freitag. "You set up the course
choose pin placements that fit your team well and put your players in a
position to win. You don't make it gimmicky, but if you have a team of short
hitters you might not set the course up very long and vice versa."
Vanderbilt Men's Golf Coach Press McPhaul says he doesn't believe the
home-course advantage gained from hosting your own tournament is as great
it is in other sports. However, he does believe that hosting the Mason
Rudolph Championships helps his team.
"Hosting a tournament helps in continuing to improve our schedule because
you have a great tournament on a great course like we do, then you can invite
teams that will hopefully reciprocate and invite us to their tournament,"
McPhaul said. "More than anything, the guys have a sense of pride about
course that they can call their own."
Both coaches agree that what makes hosting the Mason Rudolph Championships
special is the courses they use. And fortunately for the Commodore golfers,
they have the opportunity to hone their skills every day on a first-class
"If you have a facility that is as fantastic as The Legends Club of
is, then you need to host a tournament," Freitag said. "It's wonderful
because it's one less week that our kids have to go on the road and miss
class. We also want to be able to play at home and give our supporters a
chance to see us play."
Last fall's Mason Rudolph Championship featured dual men's and women's
tournaments being played at the same time. This was a first for Vanderbilt
and turned out to be a first for collegiate golf as well.
Both coaches agreed it was an event to be proud of, but scheduling conflicts
between the two teams prevented a repeat act this year.
"It will probably remain a split event just because it is so hard for
our teams to schedule the tournaments we need to be in and still be able to
find a common time to have a dual tournament," Freitag said. "It
fun to pull it off our first year. It was a fantastic event and the staff
the Legends couldn't have helped us more."
Both the men's and women's tournaments feature strong fields. The men's draw
has Vanderbilt competing against 10 other schools, including SEC foes
Alabama, Mississippi State and Ole Miss as well as cross-town rival Belmont.
The women's event will pit the Commodores against 13 other schools in a field
that includes several teams that will be ranked preseason Top-10. There also
will be a mixture of teams from the West, such as Stanford, Arizona and
Oregon State, to go along with teams closer to home such as defending
tournament champion Ohio State, Ole Miss, Tulane, North Carolina State and