Day one at MR Championships
Sept. 23, 2011
The Vanderbilt women's golf team is tied for third place after the first day of play at the 11th Mason Rudolph Fall Preview on the North Course of the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn., and the men's team played their way into the nine spot and finished at eight-over par-71 on the 7,100-yard South Course for the Men's Championship.
The women's team shot eight-over par, and ended the day in a tie for third on the par-72, 6,426-yard course. The Commodores overcame a slow start in soggy, damp weather conditions to tie for the lead at one point in the round, but settled for third place with UCLA and Alabama at the end of the day.
Lauren Stratton, the top Commodores finisher who fired a even-par 72 for the day, is tied for second place with North Carolina's Courtney Gunter, Alabama's Jennifer Kirby, Texas A&M's Mary Michael Maggio, Arizona State's Giulia Molinaro, Southern California's Sophia Popov, and Arizona's Margarita Ramos. Arizona State's Justine Lee leads the women's group at one-under par, 70.
"I started off with a birdie on the first hole, and then I birdied five and seven," said Stratton. "It was nice to get off to a good start and it kind of gets you into cruise control. It was very tough out there today, so it's nice to have a little bit of a cushion when birdies are not the easiest things out there right now.
"The course played much longer today, and it was very, very damp. The course was almost 6,500-yards, straight up. It's very long. My length really does help on days like, this but I still hit longer clubs than I'm used to hitting out here, but that's something you have to adjust to. It was a lot of fun and you had a lot of shot shaping and hitting shots out there today."
Southern Cal leads all teams at the Fall Preview after shooting a four-over par, 292. The Trojans lead Arizona State by one stroke heading into the second round on Saturday.
In last year's championship, LSU led the first round with a 10-under par, 278.
"I think a lot of the higher scores have to do with the rain we got this morning and the fact that we moved a few tees back this year," said Vanderbilt head coach Greg Allen. "I'm trying to think the way the NCAA will set this thing up, so we moved a few of the tees back. So, it's definitely playing longer, and then you throw the rain in that we had this morning, so it played super long."
"Obviously good greens, fast firm greens were the name of the game today - Joe Kennedy and his staff at Legends are able to get these greens rolling where they used to roll back in the good old days when the bent (grass) here was fast and firm. For our team, we didn't get off to a very good start, then we climbed to T-1 when some of our kids were on 15 and 16. On this golf course we know, we talk about it every year, whether we're qualifying or playing in the Mason Rudolph, you've got some birdie opportunities coming in and we made two bogies and no birdies, so that was unlike what we did here at our qualifiers. We've only really played well here one time since I've been here, and I think because of the greens being new and the different kind of grass and the different way you've got to play it, it is a home-course advantage for us. We've had a lot of time to practice on these greens."
For the Commodore men, Trey DelGreco led the team with a one-under par, 70, and is in a six-way tie for fifth-place. Adam Hoffman was next for the Commodores and came in at one-over par, 72.
"Conditions were a little chilly this morning and it was really, really wet," said DelGreco. "It didn't actually rain on us on the course, but it was real wet out, real sloppy, just kind of one of those days you're really just trying to get around as best you can. You're really not looking for anything pretty. That's really what I did, made a lot of pars, gave myself some good chances, hit a few shots that weren't too good, but I made some good recoveries and made a few putts too.
"Today was definitely a grind, with the mud and the water, you really don't have control over the ball. Late in the round, the sun came out and it ended up being a really nice day, so I tried to make a few birdies coming in with that good weather. Being in Nashville, we play in wet conditions all the time, so I don't think it was anything out of the ordinary, but the weather should be really good tomorrow, so we'll shoot a good low number tomorrow."
Joe David of Ole Miss, Richard Fountain of Davidson, Charlie Saxon of Oklahoma, and Scott Wolfes of Georgia Southern all are tied atop the individual leaderboard with a two-under par, 69.
As a team, Vanderbilt is ninth place with an eight-over par, 292. Georgia Southern leads the men's championship with an even-par, 284.
"We came out on fire in tough conditions and I thought we were on our way to a really strong round, but we just kind of stumbled on the way in, which was unfortunate," said Vanderbilt head men's golf coach Tom Shaw. "But, I think that the guys feel fortunate that they're not too far back of the lead and are very enthusiastic about coming back tomorrow and posting a good number. The fairways are soaked and the ball's not rolling, so the course is playing a lot longer, and it's probably a very different course than we've been playing the last few weeks.
"But, you've got to adapt, and we didn't do a very good job of that, but had some good signs out there and I think the guys are still positive and will come out and give it a good fight tomorrow."
Play continues tomorrow morning with another 18 holes with fixed tee times for holes one and ten at 8 a.m. CT, and on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. CT.
Scores (Par 72):
Scores (Par 71):
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