NCAA Tournament Preview

Women's Golf Off To NCAA Tournament
Commodores Enter Competition as the East Regional's #3 Seed

May 20-23 at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Ind – Purdue, host

The 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 that."

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," Freitag said.

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 pm CT.

"Our team knows they can compete with the best teams in the country and we are one of those teams," Freitag added.

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.


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