Crack the Top 10! 12/11/01
a fall it was for Vanderbilt golf!
just four tournaments, the Commodores cast themselves squarely
in the hunt for the NCAA Championship and at one time the
collegiate golf world tuned in to learn that Vanderbilt
was ranked No. 1 in the nation.
the last putt was holed out to conclude the fall's tournament
play, Coach Martha Freitag's team found itself ranked No.
7, poised to make a strong run this spring.
rise of this team over the last year has been breathtaking.
Not ranked in the Top 50 in September, 2000, the Commodores
are ahead of everyone's schedule - except their own.
you analyze our fall season, it was pretty impressive,"
says Freitag. "We set some lofty goals and accomplished
a number of them quickly. So now we are setting new goals.
What we want to do is to put ourselves in position to win
a tournament and then win one."
then, win another.
attitude may best explain the biggest difference between
this team and last year's. A year ago, Freitag says, the
team was adjusting to life in the Top 25. Today, the Commodores
know they belong in the Top 10 and are hungry for more.
a team standpoint, there were a number of fall highlights
beginning with the first event - the inaugural Mason Rudolph
Invitational at their own Legends Club of Tennessee.
was there that the Commodores turned heads, placing second
in a talented field of (14). It was here that the Black
and Gold set a school record with a 284 opening salvo, four
under-par. It was here that junior Nicki Cutler jumped into
the national limelight by finishing second with a three-under
strong performances came from Meredith Ward (T^), Courtney
Wood (T13) and freshman Joni Gossett (T14).
Freitag and Nicki Cutler
the Mason Rudolph - the only major tournament in the nation
with both men's and women's events held concurrently - it
was on to the FST Tarheel Invitational.
finished third in the field of 14, just three strokes from
second. Cutler placed second and Ward was fourth.
Pepsi Women's Intercollegiate Tournament at Stanford was
the site of more fireworks. Vanderbilt fired a new school
record 280, (eight under par), in the first round. That
was a springboard to a strong second place finish behind
Tulsa but ahead of 15 other schools, many of which were
from the Pac-10.
was exceptional again, finishing fourth with a six-under
par 210, both setting new school records. Sophomore Sarah
Jacobs chipped in with a Top 20 place after opening rounds
of 69 and 73.
last action of the fall was the Lady Paladin at Furman.
A fifth place finish in a tough field of 21 - just seven
shots out of third - was probably the team's softest performance
of the otherwise outstanding autumn campaign.
Wood, who Freitag expects to be shooting par or even better
this spring, led the team with a solid fourth place finish.
sees more team depth as a bonus heading into the spring.
need all 10 members of our team working hard if we are to
be as successful as we want to be," Freitag says. "Attitudes
are contagious and we have done a good job of understanding
our roles. We are excited but far from satisfied. We know
we have not played our best golf yet. That's still ahead