Women's Golf
Allen previews women's golf season

Sept. 14, 2011

Vanderbilt Head Women's Golf Coach Greg Allen spoke with Commodore Nation (SUBSCRIBE) just before the start of the 2011-12 season.

On playing host to the 2011 Mason Rudolph Fall Preview in anticipation of the 2012 NCAA Championships....

MR Fall Preview"This year it's going to be bittersweet. We're so excited about The Mason serving as the Fall Preview this year--the NCAA asks the school whose going to host Nationals in May to give everybody a chance to see the championship course in the fall. So we're wanting to put on a really good tournament, which the folks at Legends and all of our support staff have always done; this year it means just a little bit more because it is the preview.

"Of course then it's really sad because Mason's not going to be around to see it. And then we got the news about Carol's passing just weeks ago, and it's just a really sad time for the Mason Rudolph family."

On plans to honor Mason and Carol at the event....

"Mason Jr., is planning to be here at the dinner on Thursday and we've put together a nice video tribute to show all the teams that night. Mason always got up and shared a few stories at the dinner, so we hope the video will be able show a little bit of his wonderful personality. I think some of his grandkids will be able to come in as well. And we'll have a moment of silence, whether at the dinner or at some point during Friday's first round; we're still deciding."

On his reflections since the passing of Mason Rudolph....

"Mason loved golf, he loved people and he loved coming to this tournament and being involved with it. He was such a people person, so we're really going to miss him this year because it was just a neat time for our players. They knew they were going to get to hang out with Mason and Carol that weekend. [The Rudolph's] moved down to Tuscaloosa and had been there ever since I moved here, so we weren't able to see him on a regular basis like the teams before we got here. Our players didn't really know him like Brandt Snedeker, Sarah Jacobs and Nicki Cutler and those type players from when Mason was here all the time.

Carol and Mason Rudolph
"But I will always tell people about having dinner with Mason and Carol before the SEC Championship started in 2010, down in Tuscaloosa, and Marina sat right next to him and he just told story after story after story. She had so many second place finishes that year, and he just talked to her about winning, and she went out and got it done that week. So she really has a special place in her heart for Mason.

"When he passed away earlier in the spring we kind of dedicated the rest of our year to him and put the Mason Rudolph logo on our shirts and we talked about him the entire post-season, especially at regionals, and I remember walking with Marina late in the final round--when it wasn't looking good for us--and talking about Mason, and the next thing you know here we are in a playoff and then making it through."

On preparing the Vanderbilt Legends Club's North Course to host the 2012 NCAA Championship....

"It sets up so well for women's college golf. It's a good golf course and it's very scoreable for the girls. The course hosted an LPGA tournament for a couple years, hosted the U.S. Girls Junior Championship back in the '90s, so it's definitely got some history and tradition of hosting big time championships.

"We put the bid in two years ago and it's starting to come together now. We've got meetings going on the day after the Mason with the NCAA. The committee will be here to go do their site inspection visit, meet with our staff and the Legends staff and make sure we have all of our committees together. I love running golf tournaments.

"As far as the Mason this year we're trying to do a few things differently. We want to have live scoring with every group--a walking scorer with every group as opposed to posting scores every three holes--because that's what we want to do at Nationals. So just trying to get enough man power out there is a task: it requires at least 31 people willing to give up 4.5 to 5 hours of their day on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. We need the support from a lot of golf fans and a lot of Vanderbilt fans to come out and be willing to pitch in some time."

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On the prospects for the 2011-12 Commodore women's golf team....

Marina Alex
"I've never been this excited about a group. We've got depth. We haven't had depth since I got here. We have six girls right now that are competing for five spots. That's pushing them, that's making them work harder, that's making them know that their spot is not secure if they go out and get a little lazy or maybe go into a slump, so I feel good that we've got some people that will be on the bench that can come in and help us.

"And the other great thing about this squad is that I feel like on any given day our number five player can beat our number one playe. Right now, through practice and through our qualifying, we've had some good rounds. We've had our top three players really play well. I feel like our top three right now are as good as anyone out there. That's Marina [Alex], Stratty (Lauren Stratton), and Kendall Martindale, our incoming freshman who had a great summer. [Kendall] holds the Tennessee State Amateur Trophy and the Tennessee State Open Trophy. The only other person that has done that on the women's side is Sarah Jacobs. She was an AJGA All-American.

"Anna Leigh Keith, who was our best player at the end last year, is back along with Rene Sobolewski, our most improved player who continues to get better. Our other incoming freshman, Irena Gabasa from the Philippines, is a good player and comes in with a lot of national exposure and a lot of honors.

"We're going to have fun this year. We know that at the end of the season we need to be playing our best golf, in April and May, because all people remember is what you did in the post-season. So we want to be a team who really peaks at the right time. Our conference is so strong, from top to bottom, that we went to Nationals and finished in the top 10, but then half the teams in front of us were from the SEC. It's a tough conference but we got to be ready to go come April."

On Marina Alex's senior season....

"I think she'd like to see a few more trophies on her bookshelf other than just having the one SEC Championship, although that's a pretty nice one to have. I think we will see unbelievable things out of her this year. I say that because last year she put so much individual pressure on herself to kind of live up to what she had done as a sophomore. She kind of struggled a little bit as a junior. I think if anybody looked at her stats and looked at some of her finishes and some of her scores they wouldn't think it was slump for her or a down year, but in her mind it was, and so she worked really hard this summer on her golf swing, her short game. I've seen her make a lot of putts in our practices and in our qualifying, and I think she will come out and win several golf tournaments this year and set some Vanderbilt records and get another plaque up on the wall as an All-American."


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