April 21, 2013
Sophomore Irina Gabasa came through in a big way in the final round of the SEC Championships Sunday at the Greystone Golf and Country Club in Birmingham, posting the tournament's only under-par round and vaulting her teammates into a fourth-place standing after play concluded. Gabasa's final-round 71 moved her into a tie for 14th place at the end of play Sunday, 28 spots higher than when she started her third round.
As a team, the Commodores began the day in seventh place, but moved forward to fourth with Gabasa's help and the fact that four Vanderbilt players finished in the top 23.
"I can't tell you how proud I am of Irina Gabasa," said Vanderbilt head coach Greg Allen. "That might be one of the best rounds of her life. Today was a much better performance and one that we can build on as we head into NCAA Regionals."
Fellow sophomore Kendall Martindale finished alongside Gabasa in a tie for 14th despite a final-round 82. She finished with a total of 230 (75-73-82). Freshman Jenny Hahn ended the tournament in a tie for 19th with a 231 total (78-78-75), while senior Lauren Stratton carded a three-round score of 232 (77-79-76), which tied her for 23rd. Junior Rene Sobolewski shot three consecutive 79's (237) and finished in a tie for 47th.
The Commodores' fourth-place finish is the second top five in Greg Allen's six-year tenure - Vanderbilt finished runner up in 2010 to Alabama in Tuscaloosa on the Crimson Tide's home course. It also tied for the third-best finish in program history; Vanderbilt also finished in fourth in 2002 and 2006.
The Crimson Tide also claimed this year's title, winning by 14 strokes over Georgia. Alabama's Stephanie Meadow cruised to the individual crown by nine strokes with a final total of 216 (75-69-72).
The Commodores' next outing will be the NCAA Regionals, which takes place May 9-11 at three sites throughout the country - Auburn, Ala., Tulsa, Okla., and Stanford, Calif. Vanderbilt will find out its regional destination on April 29 with the NCAA.com Selection Show.
7. Vanderbilt - 309-309-301=919
T14. Kendall Martindale - 75-73-82=230
T14. Irina Gabasa - 80-79-71=230
T19. Jenny Hahn - 78-78-75=231
T23. Lauren Stratton - 77-79-76=232
T47. Rene Soblewski - 79-79-79=237