The Vanderbilt women's golf team will start its pursuit of NCAA postseason participation on Labor Day weekend at Kiawah Island, S.C.
The Commodores open the 2017-18 season at the Ocean Course Invitational on Sept. 4-5. It is first of four fall events that serve as a preview to the spring season culminating in the Southeastern Conference Championship in April and the NCAA Championship in May.
Head coach Greg Allen, who enters his 11th year at the helm of the program, looks to return the Commodores to postseason play. The Commodores ended a streak of 17 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Regionals.
"Reaching NCAA postseason play has become an expectation with this program and it still stings to have missed it last year," Allen said. "We're dedicated to working hard every day, having a great attitude and making sure we do all the little things that will prepare us to be in the hunt for SEC and NCAA titles.
"I like our schedule even though it's very challenging. It gives our girls an opportunity to face top competition, participate in some of our favorite events, and play several outstanding new venues," Allen added.
The team's season-opening tournament at Kiawah Island comes at one of the nation's premier courses. The Ocean Course, located on the coast just south of Charleston, served as host for the 2013 PGA Championship, 2007 Senior PGA Championship and 1991 Ryder Cup.
After the Ocean Course Invitational, the squad will host the Mason Rudolph Championship Sept. 15-17 at Vanderbilt Legends Club. The Mason Rudolph field will include 2017 NCAA champion Arizona State, national runner-up Northwestern, and five more teams that played in the national championship.
"The Mason Rudolph attracts top programs across the nation to the Vanderbilt Legends North course, which hosted the 2012 NCAA Championship. The tournament has become one of the top fall events on the women's collegiate calendar," Allen said.
The Commodores will return to the Ruth's Chris Tar Heel Invitational in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Oct. 13-15 before concluding the fall season in the Battle at the Beach, a new event hosted by Baylor University on Nov. 3-5 in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.
The Commodores will start the spring campaign in Orlando, Fla., competing in the UCF Challenge on Feb. 2-4, then travel to Long Cove Club in Hilton Head, S.C. for the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate March 2-4. The team's last two tournaments before postseason competition will be at the Clemson (S.C.) Invitational on March 23-25 and Brickyard Collegiate, scheduled April 8-10 in Macon, Ga.
The SEC Championship, scheduled for April 18-22, returns to Greystone Golf and Country Club in Birmingham. It is the same venue where Allen's Commodores prevailed in 2014. This year, the SEC Championship is changing formats this year to mirror the NCAA National Championship, with the low eight teams after 54 holes of stroke play advancing to match play. The final match will be televised live on the SEC Network on April 22.
Florida State, Texas, Wisconsin and Stanford will host NCAA Regional competitions on May 7-9. The NCAA Championship will be contested May 18-23 at Karsten Creek Golf Course in Stillwater, Okla.