May 19, 2014
Vanderbilt head coach Greg Allen and his Commodore women's golf team will appear in their program-best fifth consecutive NCAA Championship, an event that begins this Tuesday and lasts until Friday at the Tulsa Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
The Commodores enter the NCAA Championship on a roll, winning three of their last four tournaments, including their last two events, the NCAA East Regional and the SEC Championship. Vanderbilt won those two tournaments by a combined 25 shots.
In all, this will mark Vanderbilt's ninth stint at the NCAA Championship, with the Commodores' best finish coming in 2004 when they finished fifth. Allen, now in his seventh season, will be attending his fifth consecutive national championship as head coach of the Commodores, and the 11th as a head coach. Allen was the head coach at Arizona, where he coached Lorena Ochoa and Natalie Gulbis, among others, before moving to Nashville in 2007. His best finish at a national championship was a second-place finish at the 2002 NCAA Championship.
Vanderbilt advanced to the national championship after their first-place finish at the East Regional in Tallahassee, Fla., with the Commodores winning the regional by 14 shots over South Carolina and having three players in the top four. Sophomore Jennifer Hahn won her first career tournament in Tallhassee, finishing three shots ahead of teammate Kendall Martindale, who finished in second, and four shots in front of Irina Gabasa, who ended the tournament in a tie for fourth.
The Commodores will tee off Tuesday at noon Central time off the number 1 tee with fellow number one seeds UCLA and USC, the top two teams in the nation.. On Wednesday, Vanderbilt will tee off of number 10 at 7:30 a.m. CT with the same two schools.
The Tulsa Country Club will be set up as a par-70, 6,194-yard set up for the week, where four rounds of stroke play will determine the national championship.
Freshman Simin Feng leads all golfers with a 71.85 stroke average and has won two tournaments in her inaugural season with the Commodores - the Central District Invitational and the SEC Championship. Feng won the SEC’s Golfer of the Week on March 5, and on April 21, was named Golfweek’s National Player of the Week for her SEC Championship effort. Feng’s 71.96 stroke average trails only Marina Alex’s 71.59 stroke average in 2009-10 when she won medalist honors at the SEC Championship in 2010 and was named a first-team All-American.
Feng is no doubt putting together an All-American season, but other Commodores are also pitching in for this record-setting season. Hahn (Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational, East Regional), Martindale (3M Lady Jaguar Intercollegiate, East Regional), and Gabasa (East Regional) have each notched a top five finish this year, and all five Vanderbilt starters have notched rounds in the 60’s.