Vanderbilt Comes From Behind to Win Mason Rudolph Championship
Three Commodores Finish in the Top 5 Led by Individual Champion Courtney Wood

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The Vanderbilt Commodore golf team won its most prestigious tournament title ever today at the Mason Rudolph Championship at Legends Club of Tennessee (Par 72, 6276 yardage) and Brentwood junior Courtney Wood claimed the individual title for the Commodores with a two-under-par performance.

The Commodores entered today’s round four shots behind 2002 NCAA Preview champion Arizona who owned a two-round total of 583. VU started the day with a 587.

“We started out the day knowing that we needed to play our golf,” Vanderbilt Head Coach Martha Freitag said. “If we took care of our business, we knew we would be in contention.”

The Commodores shot rounds of 302-285-291 on the way to the championship. The Commodores put together a solid second round and finished the first day (two rounds) in second place with a score of 11-over-par 587. After a first-round round of 302 left them in third place, the Commodores took flight in the second round with a 285 - the lowest round for any team - and narrowed Arizona’s lead to four shots.

Three Commodores finished in the Top 5, including individual champion Courtney Wood who started the final round four shots out of the lead. Wood shot a 69 in the final round to total a 214 (77-68-69, -2) and win the title by two shots. Wood finished the first day with a 77 and 23rd place finish. She followed that with a tournament best round of 68 to move up to second place entering the final round.

“We just weren’t ready for the first round,” Wood said. “I got off to a bad start and then played well after the second hole and then faded again. This course played tough with the wind coming in the opposite direction. We didn’t adjust quickly to the cool temperature.”

Arizona’s Erica Blasberg, who began the day in first place, shot a 75 in the final round to finish in sole possession of second place with a 216 (72-69-75, E).
Vanderbilt freshman May Wood totaled 221 (76-72-73, +5) for a fourth place finish and Sarah Jacobs shot a 222 (73-75-74, +6) for a tie in fifth place. Nicki Cutler finished in 13th place (79-70-77=226, +10), followed by Joni Gossett in 22nd place (76-78-75=229, +13).

“Courtney (Wood) just played fantastic and Sarah (Jacobs) was so consistent all three rounds,” Freitag added. May (Wood) birdied two of the last four holes, Joni (Gossett) shot a 75 today and Nicki (Cutler) shot a 70 yesterday — It took the entire team to win this tournament.”

The Mason Rudolph Championship Tournament 14-team field boasted five teams ranked in the Golfweek Top 25 Poll.

“I want to win against great teams,” Freitag said. “If you want to win championships, you have to learn how to win against the best teams in the country and our schedule provides that for us.”

The last tournament title for Vanderbilt was during the 1995-96 season when the Commodores finished first in a 19-team field at the College of Charleston Invitational

The Commodores return to action Oct. 18-20 at the Stanford-Pepsi Women’s Intercollegiate in Palo Alto, Calif.





Day 1

Vanderbilt Shoots Lowest Round of the Day with a 285 in the Second Round; Four Shots Behind Leader Arizona
Commodores Place Four Players in the Top 10

FRANKLIN, Tenn. The Vanderbilt women's golf team put together a solid second round at the Mason Rudolph Championship and finished the first day (two rounds) in second place with a score of 11-over-par 587. The Championship is being played at par-72, 6,276-yard, Legends Club of Tennessee.

Arizona, the 2002 NCAA Fall Preview Champion, is in first place with a total of 583 (+7) after shooting rounds of 296 and 287. Tennessee is in third place with a 605 (298-307, +29), followed by defending champion Ohio State with a 606 (303-303, +30), and Furman with a 610 (309-301, +34). North Carolina State and Tulane are tied for sixth place (617), followed by Mississippi (619), North Carolina-Wilmington (625), Missouri (627), Northwestern (629), Oregon State (633), Stanford (636) and LSU (647).

Erica Blasberg of Arizona is the individual leader shooting rounds of 72 and 69 for a 141 total. She is the only golfer to shoot below par for the day (-3).

After a first-round round of 302 left them in third place, the Commodores took flight in the second round with a 285 - the lowest round for any team - and narrowed Arizona's lead to four shots.

"We played a lot more aggressive in the afternoon round," Head Coach Martha Freitag said. "We played tight and tentative in the morning, but played with a little more fight and aggressiveness in the second round."

Vanderbilt junior Courtney Wood fired a second-round, four-under par 68 - the best round of the day - to go along with her first round 77 for a 145 total (+1) and sole possesion of second place, four shots out of the lead. Other top finishers for the Commodores included junior Sarah Jacobs (73-75=148, +4) and freshman May Wood (76-72=148, +4) in a tie for seventh position; senior Nicki Cutler (79-70=149, +5) in 10th place, and sophomore Joni Gossett (76-78=154, +10) in a tie at the 30th position. Sophomore Veronica Yatco competed +as an individual and is in 52nd place (84-76=160), while sophomore Kim Kindig withdrew in the first round due to illness.

"We had tremendous individual performances today," Freitag said. "Courtney (Wood) and Nicki (Cutler) had great second rounds. May (Wood) and Sarah (Jacobs) both had solid rounds also and Joni's (Gossett) contribution this morning was huge - it kept us four shots out of the lead."

The final round begins at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday with a shotgun start. The Commodores will be looking for their first championship of the season.

"Arizona is a good golf team," Freitag added. "We will have to play like we did this afternoon. We must stick to our game plan - we know how to play this golf course and we know we have to go out and execute. I like our position. I like that we are going to be the aggressors."


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