May 20, 2013
Vanderbilt head coach Greg Allen and his Commodore women's golf team will appear in their program-best fourth consecutive NCAA Championship, an event that begins this Tuesday and lasts until Friday at the UGA Golf Course in Athens, Ga.
In all, this will mark Vanderbilt's eighth stint at the NCAA Championship, with the Commodores' best finish coming in 2004 when they finished fifth. Allen, now in his sixth season, will be attending his fourth consecutive national championship as head coach of the Commodores, and the 10th 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 a third-place finish at the NCAA West Regional in Stanford, Calif., two weeks ago. Sophomore Kendall Martindale led Vanderbilt with her best finish of the season with a third-place score of 210 (71-71-68).
The Commodores will tee off Tuesday at noon Eastern off the number 10 tee with fellow SEC schools Arkansas and Mississippi State. On Wednesday, Vanderbilt will tee off of number one at 7:30 a.m. ET with the same two schools.
The UGA Golf Course, which will host its fifth women's intercollegiate national championship, will be set up as a par-72, 6,372-yard set up.
"We're really excited about the opportunity to compete this week," said Allen. "The girls have worked extremely hard this year, and particularly this spring. I'm not sure if I've ever enjoyed coaching a team like I have this year. It's a long week and all I ask for as a coach is to have a chance come Friday as we make the turn. In order to do that, we'll continue to stick to the process and take care of the little things along the way."
The Commodores are currently ranked seventh in the latest Golfstat rankings, and out of 10 tournaments, have finished outside of the top five only once. Vanderbilt has had three runner-up finishes this spring alone, coming at the Central District Invitational, the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, and the Insperity Lady Jaguar Intercollegiate. The Commodores most recently finished third at the West Regional in Stanford, Calif.
Sophomore Kendall Martindale is the team's stroke leader heading into the NCAA Championship with an average of 73.13, and senior Lauren Stratton is next on the team with an average of 74.07. Martindale has six top finishes on the season, including a third-place finish at the West Regional at Stanford, while Stratton has three top fives. Stratton finished in a tie for fifth at the Liz Murphey Fall Preview with a total of even-par, 216. Stratton, who recently graduated with a degree in Economics, is the first Vanderbilt women's golfer to play in four national championships as a member of a qualifying team. Her best finish came at last year's championship in Franklin, when she finished in a tie for 29th.