FRANKLIN, Tenn. – An outstanding field, headed by 2017 NCAA national champion Arizona State and 2017 national runner-up Northwestern, will participate in the 17th Annual Mason Rudolph Women’s Championship, a three-day tournament that starts Friday at Vanderbilt Legends Club.
Ten of the 15 squads contending for the Mason Rudolph team title participated in NCAA postseason play last year. In addition to Arizona State and Northwestern, five other teams advanced to the 2017 NCAA Women’s National Championship: Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Clemson and Arkansas. Three more - Auburn, Houston and UCF - advanced to NCAA Regionals.
Virginia, North Carolina-Charlotte and Middle Tennessee round out the talented field.
For veteran Vanderbilt head coach Greg Allen, the Vanderbilt-hosted Mason Rudolph is returning to its roots, bringing the best in collegiate golfers to middle Tennessee for a blend of superb competition and camaraderie.
“The Mason weekend is always a great experience and definitely one of my favorite times of the year,” Allen said. “I’m really excited about this year’s Mason Rudolph. We’re back to having one of the best fields in the country like it used to be. We have the reigning NCAA champion, NCAA runner-up and SEC champion in the field. It’s a good one.”
Allen is eager to see his youthful squad in its second competition of the year. The Commodores are coming off an eighth-place finish at the Ocean Course Invitational in Kiawah Island, S.C, a tourney where Allen’s squad played the par-3s and par-4s extremely well only to struggle on par-5s.
The Vanderbilt lineup includes junior Courtney Zeng, sophomore Abbey Carlson, freshman Morgan Baxendale, freshman Virginia Green and freshman Louise Yu, with senior Alexandra Farnsworth competing as an individual.
“I like my young team. We are getting better every day and I’m anxious about the opportunity to compete against the best teams in the country,” Allen said.
Top individuals entered in Mason Rudolph
The Mason Rudolph features superb individual talent. The field includes six players who finished among the top 25 in stroke play at the 2017 NCAA Championships: Cheyenne Knight of Alabama, T-10; Ainhoa Olarra of South Carolina, T-10; Janet Mao of Northwestern, 13th; Hannah Kim of Northwestern, T-17; Kristen Gillman of Alabama, T-17; Stephanie Lau of Northwestern, T-24; and Sarah Cho of Northwestern, T-24.
The Vanderbilt Legends North course – championship layout
The Mason Rudolph Women’s Championship returns to the Vanderbilt Legends Club North Course, regarded among Tennessee’s top layouts. The par-72, 6,335-yard course co-designed by Hall of Fame golfer Tom Kite and renowned architect Bob Cupp, served as host course for the 2012 NCAA Women’s Championship. The course is located in Franklin, Tenn., about 12 miles south of Nashville off Interstate 65.
Championship team, individual records
The Mason Rudolph features new team and individual records set last fall. Alabama broke the tournament team record with a total score of 825 (39-under) in 2016. Crimson Tide golfers also broke individual records for tournament low score (Cheyenne Knight, 202) and low round (Lakareber Abe, third round-63) during the 2016 edition. Both Knight and Abe are back in the field.
The Mason Rudolph is a 54-hole tournament, with single rounds scheduled Friday (1st tee times at 8:30 am CT, double tees on holes 1 & 10), Saturday (1st tee times at 8:30 am CT, double tees on holes 1 & 10), and Sunday (1st tees at 8 am CT, double tees on holes 1 & 10).
Ideal weather forecast
After three days of rain and cool weather from the remnants of Hurricane Irma, Nashville and the surrounding area is expected to feature ideal conditions for golf. Forecasters call for a 20 percent chance for light rain Thursday, diminishing through the weekend. Highs are expected in the 80s.
Free to spectators
The Mason Rudolph Championship features free admission to the public. Limited free parking is available.
Live results via golfstat.com from the Mason Rudolph are available here.