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Women’s Golf Wins Again!

The #7 Ranked Commodores Can’t Stop Winning

2017 East Lake Cup - Day 3 Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

If it wasn’t enough to hang out in beautiful Rancho Sante Fe, CA in late March, the #7 ranked Dore’s had to go ahead and win the Lamkin Invitational in dominating fashion. Full scoreboard here.

This is the third victory of the Spring (UCF Challenge and Reynolds Lake) and the fourth going back to the Fall Season (Mason Rudolph).

The Lamkin is a unique tournament that the first round is stroke play and takes the top 8 of 12 team into a three rounds of team match play.

Vanderbilt finished T5 after the stroke play round and were paired by against Texas Tech. They defeated the Red Raiders 5-0. The next round the Commodores felled Sacremento State 4-0-1.

In the championship round, the Commodores took on the Cal Bears.

Auston Kim teed off first and battled back and forth with Marriane Li. Kim held a 1 or 2-Up lead thru 12 holes. On the par-3 13th, Kim fell behind Li then won three of her next four holes to close out the match 1-Up on the final 18th.

Abbey Carlson, a stand out Junior ( and 31st NCAA Ranked player) for the ‘Dores, led her match by as many as four but her opponent, Maria Herraez Galvez, chipped away at the lead bringing it All Square by the 14th. Carlson then birdied her next two holes to end the match at 2&1

Louise Yu started off slowly against her opponent, Cindy Oh. Then by their fourth hole Yu heated up making nine pars and birdies to close out Oh 4&3.

That was enough to clinch the tournament for the Commodores, but Courtney Zeng, the 29th ranked NCAA player, won her match 4&3, never trailing.

Morgan Baxendale was the only losing match of the final team round. She was defeated by Katherine Zhu 2&1.

This is tournament was important to the Commodores because the SEC and NCAA championships are both stroke and match play. Head Coach Greg Allen said, “ This one was great because it taught us that we can win playing match play. We scheduled this tournament to give us this experience before next month’s SEC Championship.”

Their preparation for the Lamkin was altered slightly, where the girls played matches against each other during practice. Allen also encouraged the girls to approach the strategy of each hole differently than they would in stroke play, “Match play is so much about strategy on each hole and rethinking that strategy based on what your opponent is doing. I thought our girls did a nice job of that as well and finding a way to battle some momentum changes.”

Probably most unique to match play was the reliance on every girl to play well. In stroke play, 2-3 low scores can win a tournament, but in match play, each golfer has to contribute on every hole. Allen said, “This particular tournament, once match play started, we couldn’t rely on just one or two girls going deep and carrying the team. To win the match, we needed three girls to go out and find a way to beat their opponent. It wasn’t necessarily about playing really great golf, it was about finding a way to beat the girl you were matched up against.”

He added, “I’ve been coaching golf long enough to know that you don’t take any win for granted so each one is special.”

But their eyes are not set on this tournament, “Each week and each tournament, we’re just trying to get better than the last. We want to peak come late April and May.”

The Commodores are set to tee off again at Clemson on April 7, then the SEC Championships on April 17 in Birmingham.