Women’s Golf: A dream beginning in Paradise

Vanderbilt could not have asked for a better start to its spring season, as the team put up a historic performance en route to an opening tournament win.


Vanderbilt Athletics

Tillie Claggett celebrates at the Ron Moore Intercollegiate on Oct. 9, 2022.

Jonah Barbin, Sports Copy Editor

Vanderbilt began its spring season with a huge victory at the FAU Paradise Invitational on Feb. 6-7. 

The event took place at the par-72 Osprey Point Golf Course in Boca Raton, Florida. The field consisted of the Commodores, host Florida Atlantic University, Colorado State, Kennesaw State, Kansas State, Georgia Southern, Mercer, Missouri, Nebraska, South Florida, UTSA and Wisconsin.

Vanderbilt is currently ranked No. 19 in the nation. The Commodores had a successful season in the fall, highlighted by their first regular season win since 2019 at the Ron Moore Intercollegiate.

“I was very pleased with the progress we made in the fall, and I’m excited about what this team can accomplish over the next four months,” head coach Greg Allen said. “I think we’re all ready to get the spring season underway.”

Being in Paradise served the Commodores well, as they got off to a fantastic start in the tournament. Through 36 holes, Vanderbilt shot 22 under par and had a 12-stroke lead over second-place Nebraska.

After day one, Vanderbilt had recorded the lowest averages on par 3s, 4s and 5s and had recorded the most birdies (43). The next closest team had 33 birdies.

“We know it’s not over yet, and we’ll need to be sharp again [Tuesday], playing with the same mindset we had today,” Allen said.

Tuesday was an even more impressive day for Vanderbilt, as the team increased its lead and eventually won the tournament by a total of 25 strokes. The Commodores recorded a three-round total of 835, the second-best finish in program history. 

Virginie Ding placed second overall in the tournament, finishing 10-under-par, just one stroke behind Florida Atlantic golfer Letizia Bagnoli. Ding shot a 54-hole total of 206, tying for the fifth-best mark in Vanderbilt history.

The spring season could not have started any better for Vanderbilt, but the team is committed to remaining even-keeled and prepared for the challenges ahead.

“This feels really good, and we will enjoy it because we know how hard it is to win,” Allen said. “But we know we need to continue getting better because the competition and golf courses only get tougher.”

The Commodores will face their next test at the Moon Golf Invitational from Feb. 19-21 in Melbourne, Florida.