Golf Off To NCAA Tournament
Commodores Enter Competition as the East Regional's #3
May 20-23 at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette,
Ind Purdue, host
Vanderbilt University women's golf team earned its second
consecutive NCAA appearance when it closed out the NCAA Division
I Women's East Regional with a strong finish that left it
in a tie for second place.
The Commodores' final round total of 282 (2-under) was the
third best single round by any team during the three-day event.
Juniors Courtney Wood and Sarah Jacobs and senior Nicki Cutler
all broke par for the final round during which VU outperformed
regional champion and top-ranked Duke University.
"It was a great week in that we saw all of our hard work
pay off," SEC Coach of the Year Martha Freitag said.
"I feel like all spring we played great golf, but it
didn't show in our scores or finishes. We've started to see
things come together. We're seeing a definite team of gamers
and they knew it was time to dance - they did what we needed
to do. Of course we wanted to win - we want to win every tournament
- but we wanted to be at least in the Top Three and we did
Cutler led the team with a first round score of 71 and helped
place Vanderbilt squarely in contention for the team title.
Vanderbilt compiled a 295 (11-over) in the opening round marking
the fourth time this season the Commodores shot better than
300 in the opening round and put them in fourth place, seven
strokes behind top-ranked Duke, the leader. Previous events
in which they got off to such a good start included the Bryan
National Collegiate Tournament and the NCAA Fall Preview,
where they finished second and third, respectively.
The Commodores moved up both the team and individual leader
boards in the second round with a round of 288 (4-over), the
fourth best round of the day, and moved into second place,
nine shots behind Duke University. VU started the round in
fourth but made a combined eight birdies, had three players
shoot par or better and improved on its first-round score
by seven strokes as it surged in front of both Florida State
University and the University of Georgia.
"We put ourselves in contention and gave us a chance
to win," Freitag said. "It's hard to make up shots
on Duke (in the final round), but we played great golf when
we were paired with them on the final day."
In Vanderbilt's first trip to the NCAA Tournament last season,
the Commodores finished 18th (24 teams). Four Commodores return
to the NCAA's including VU's top finisher Courtney Wood who
owned a four-round score of 293 and a tie for 22nd place.
Cutler finished tied for 73rd (77-75-73-78=303), followed
by Jacobs (T75, 80-75-75-74=304) and sophomore Joni Gossett
(117, 81-79081-78=319). This will be the first NCAA Tournament
for freshman May Wood.
"We have a team that has a lot of good golf experience
at a high level with success at the highest level. We shoud
be entering the NCAA Tournament with a great amount of confidence,"
The Commodores will be paired with the No. 3 Seeds from the
Central (Texas) and West (UCLA) Regionals. Texas is currently
ranked 5th, Vanderbilt 9th and UCLA 12th in the latest Golfweek.com
Poll. It is a bit of a familiar site for Freitag. Freitag
served as an assistant at Texas for three years under head
coach Susan Watkins prior to coming to Vanderbilt. As a student-athlete
at Stanford, Freitag competed with now UCLA Head Coach Carrie
Leary who was also a golfer for the Bruins.
"We have a great pairing," Freitag added. "Texas
is an outstanding team and UCLA had a great year as well.
Coming from Texas, I have a lot of respect for Susan (Watkins)
and that program. She is someone I worked with for three years
and is a mentor. I think so highly of her and that program.
Carrie (Leary) and I played golf together when we were both
in college and we're good friends. These are two really good
programs and I really enjoy these coaches."
NCAA Tournament opening round action begins May 20 (Tuesday)
at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex (Kampen Course) in West
Lafayette, Ind. Vanderbilt is scheduled to tee off at 12:30
"Our team knows they can compete with the best teams
in the country and we are one of those teams," Freitag
NCAA Women's Golf Tournament Fact Sheet
Vanderbilt is the #3 Seed out of the East Regional; The team
will depart Saturday morning for West Lafayette, Ind.
When: May 20-23
Where: Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex (Kampen Course)
- 6,225 yards, Par 72), West Lafayette, Ind.
Host: Purdue University
Format: 72 holes - 18 holes each day - The low four
scores for each team will count in each day's total score.