Vanderbilt Women's Golf Team Looks for SEC Title 4/17/03
Commodores Open Play Friday in Lexington, Kentucky

The Vanderbilt Commodores open SEC Tournament play Friday at the University Club of Kentucky (6,153-yards, Par 72). The University of Kentucky will host the 54-hole, three-day event (April 18-20) on the "Big Blue" championship course.

Vanderbilt is one of six SEC teams currently ranked (the Commodores are 8th in the latest GolfWeek/Sagarin team rankings). Other SEC teams in the Top 25 include Auburn (7), Tennessee (10), Florida (11), Georgia (15) and South Carolina (16).

The championship also features 11 of the nation's Top-50 individuals, including VU's Courtney Wood (#23), May Wood (#41), and Sarah Jacobs (#48). The Commodores own the league's best stroke average with a 298.9 team stroke average and a 74.73 individual stroke average.

Two-time defending medalist Kristy McPherson of South Carolina is back to defend her title, which led the Lady Gamecocks to the team championship.
"We are probably one of the favorites along with Auburn, Tennessee, and Florida," head coach Martha Freitag said. "On any given day, anyone could win it we have all beaten each other throughout the season, so it is going to make for a very competitive week."

Vanderbilt's lineup is comprised of senior Nicki Cutler, juniors Courtney Wood and Sarah Jacobs, sophomore Joni Gossett and freshman May Wood. Cutler was the runnerup at the 2002 SEC Championship.

"This group knows what they are capable of and we are looking forward to playing in the tournament," Freitag added. "Mason Rudolph says that 'You can¹t win the tournament on the first day, but you can lose it,' so we just want to keep in the mix of things and be leading at the end of the last day," Freitag said.

Courtney Wood enters the weekend with a 74.59 stroke average. She won the Mason Rudolph Invitational with a a 214 (-2) and tied for first with teammate May Wood at the Bryan National Collegiate Tournament with a two-round total of 142 (-2). Her best round is a 68 in second-round action of the Mason Rudolph Invitational. She followed that with a 69 in the final round. In 22 rounds for the season, she has shot better than 80 19 times.

Last season, she finished tied for 15th in the SEC Tournament with a 221.
May Wood is coming off SEC Player of the Week honors after she tied for first at the Bryan National Collegiate (142) and tied for eighth in the Liz Murphey Classic (220). She has a 75.22 stroke average with a single-round best of 69 in the second round of the Stanford-Pepsi Classic.

After she tied for 10th at the SEC in 2002 Jacobs enjoyed a consistent 2002-03 campaign that gave her a 75.09 stroke average with all of her rounds between 69 and 79. Jacobs has had three Top 5 finishes this season topped by a second place finish at the NCAA Fall Preview (219).

Gossett finished in first place in the VU Triangular last week with a round of 74. She has crafted a stroke average of 77.30 after a 32nd in last year's SEC Tournament.

Cutler's season average is 76.36. Her best round is 70 in the second round of the Mason Rudolph Invitational.

Vanderbilt finished an alll-time high fourth in 2002, 14 shots behind South Carolina. The Commodores' previous best finish was eighth in 2001.
In 22 years of SEC Women's Golf, Georgia has won 10 team championships, followed by Florida with seven.

Kentucky, Arkansas and Ole Miss will open the tournament Friday (April 18), with the first tee time scheduled for 9 a.m. Mississippi State, Louisiana State and Alabama are scheduled to tee off at 9:50 a.m., followed by Florida, Georgia and Vanderbilt at 10:40 a.m. and Tennessee, Auburn and South Carolina at 11:30 a.m.

Round two will begin on Saturday at 9 a.m., with the teams re-seeded based on the previous day's finish. All players will begin rounds one and two on the first tee. Sunday's final round will start on No. 1 and No. 10, with the bottom six teams teeing off from the back nine. Action will begin at 9 a.m. on both holes. Round three will be immediately followed by the awards presentation, scheduled to begin at approximately 3 p.m.

All 12 squads will field teams of five, and the top four scores in each round will count.

Live stats of the tournament can be found at the following website: http://www.golfstatresults.com/public/index.cfm?tournament_id=275


Group 11 - 10:40 am - Joni Gossett (Vanderbilt), Andrea Vander Lende (Florida), Jackie Beers (Georgia)

Group 12 - 10:50 am - Nicki Cutler (Vanderbilt), Amanda Dick (Florida), Lisa Tyler (Georgia)

Group 13 - 11 am - Sarah Jacobs (Vanderbilt), Aimee Cho (Florida), Kelly Froelich (Georgia)

Group 14 - 11:10 am - Courtney Wood (Vanderbilt), Jeanne Cho (Florida), Natalie Nicholls (Georgia)

Group 15 - 11:20 am - May Wood (Vanderbilt), Brittany Straza (Florida), Summer Sirmons (Georgia).

The University Club of Kentucky is a members-only club that began its current private licensing agreement with UK in the summer of 2002. Internationally renowned golf course architect Arthur Hills designed the renovations to "Big Blue," transforming it into a championship course. The course is complemented by a dozen lakes and ponds, providing the player with a beautiful and challenging round of golf. The University Club already has played host to September's Lady Kat Invitational (women) and last month's Johnny Owens Invitational (men).

Admission and parking are free at the University Club, which is located six miles northwest of downtown at 4850 Leestown Road.

Media outlets wishing to cover this event are encouraged to contact Chris Weinman, Tournament Media Director, at the UK Media Relations office: (859) 257-3838. Players and coaches will be available for interviews each day following a 10-minute cooling-off period.


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