Vanderbilt women’s golf SEC Championship recap, NCAA Regionals preview

The Vanderbilt Commodores reached the quarterfinals of the SEC Championship before being eliminated by LSU and now turn their focus to the NCAA Regionals.

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Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt women’s golf competes at the SEC Championships in April 2022. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Francis Sheehy, Staff Writer

The Vanderbilt Commodores competed in the SEC Women’s Golf Championship at the Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama, from April 13-16. They are now turning their focus to the NCAA Regionals, which they are hosting at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tennessee.

Despite being ranked 11th in the SEC heading into the postseason, they finished No.7 in stroke play in the SEC Championship to qualify for the quarterfinals. When the tournament turned to match play, Vanderbilt was eliminated 4-1-0 by the eventual champions, the LSU Tigers. 

“I feel like we’re a program that plays our best golf in April and May,” head coach Greg Allen told The Hustler. “I was really proud of how the girls showed up in Birmingham and Greystone and were ready to go. We always want to get that weekend tee time for match play, and they did that.”

The postseason began for Vanderbilt on April 13 with their opening round in Birmingham. Amid difficult weather, the Commodores’ combined 10-over score was good enough to place them at seventh. Senior Auston Kim led the team in Round 1 with a 71 and four birdies, one of just seven golfers in the entire tournament to finish Wednesday under par.

The Commodores came back in better conditions on Thursday, scoring 5 over as a team on the day to move up to sixth in the standings. Junior Celina Sattelkau led the way on Day 2, shooting an even-par 72 that featured an eagle on the 11th hole. Combined with her 73 from the day before, she moved into an individual tie for seventh at 1 over.

In the final stroke-play round on Friday morning, Vanderbilt secured its place in the match-play portion of the tournament with a 2-over combined score—their best of the tournament. Kim similarly had her best round of the event with a 69, finishing even par and in a tie for sixth in the individual standings. Meanwhile, fifth-year senior Louise Yu shot her second consecutive 72 to move into the top 30. The Commodores finished stroke play in seventh, 11 shots ahead of the cutoff to qualify for match play.

Vanderbilt was paired up against the LSU Tigers, who finished second in stroke play, for a best-of-five match-play quarterfinal that began Friday afternoon instead of Saturday morning due to inclement weather. The Tigers started ahead of the Commodores and led in four of the five matches when the round was suspended due to darkness. While Sattelkau secured a 3&2 victory Saturday morning, the Commodores were unable to flip any of the other matches and were eliminated 4-1-0.

“For two years in a row, last year with Auburn and this year with LSU, we lost to the eventual champion. I think that shows a lot about our team, about our girls,” Allen said. “We lost to the team that went on to win the SEC Championship, and that’s a big deal.”

The Commodores’ attention now turns to preparation for the NCAA Regionals, qualifying for the 21st time in program history. This year, Vanderbilt is hosting the event at the Vanderbilt Legends Club.

“We do truly feel like we have a home-course advantage,” Allen said. “We’ve just got to get better at our wedges and being really sharp around the greens. The good news is that we’ve got a lot of time to make that happen.” 

The Commodores are looking to reach the National Championships for the 10th time. For the first time, the 72 selected teams will compete at six different regional sites, up from four sites in prior years. Each regional will feature 12 teams as well as  six individuals not on a qualifying team, of which four teams and two individuals not on an otherwise advancing team will compete in the NCAA Championships in Scottsdale, Arizona starting May 20. 

The regionals field will be announced on April 27 at 3 p.m. CDT on the GOLF Channel, and the event will run for three days beginning on May 9 on the Legends North Course.