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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Women’s Golf: ‘Dores dominate Clemson Invitational

Virginie Ding and the women’s golf team won by a combined six strokes at the Clemson Invitational.
Ava+Merrill+swinging+a+golf+club%2C+as+photographed+on+Feb.+22%2C+2024.+%28Vanderbilt+Athletics%29
Vanderbilt Athletics
Ava Merrill swinging a golf club, as photographed on Feb. 22, 2024. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

The Vanderbilt Women’s Golf team finished the regular season at the Clemson Invitational from March 22-24. The Commodores won the tournament with a collective score of -12, six shots better than second place Texas A&M. Virginie Ding notched her first top-five finish of the season after a stellar 5-under 67 in round three. 

Lynn Lim, Ava Merrill, Tillie Claggett, Celina Sattelkau and Ding drew the start for Vanderbilt while Macie Brown competed as an individual at the par-72 Reserve at Lake Keowee golf club in Sunset, S.C. 

On Day One, the Commodores immediately vaulted up the leaderboard and held a five-stroke lead after 18 holes. Lim and Claggett led the charge for the Commodores, shooting 69 and 68, respectively. 

Lim was able to roll in five birdies while Claggett made six of her own. It was a strong start for the duo and Claggett finished the day in sole possession of third. 

Merrill was able to put together a fantastic round of 2-under 70 to stay well within striking distance of the individual leader. This strong start placed her in ninth place heading into round two. 

“I thought Tillie [Claggett], Lynn [Lim] and Ava [Merrill] were in control of their games all day,” head coach Greg Allen said. “They looked really good.”

Sattelkau shot a 1-over 73 to finish the day in a tie for 31st while Ding struggled to find a rhythm, shooting 75.

“There’s certainly plenty of golf left to be played this weekend and we know we need to be disciplined enough to stick with our game plan,” Allen said after round one. 

On Day Two, the Commodores retained their five-stroke lead after shooting a tournament-leading 7-under 281 in round two. It was more consistent play from all the starters which allowed Vanderbilt to maintain its lead. 

Four Commodores were able to find red figures on Day Two, with Lim, Merrill and Ding shooting 70 and Sattelkau shooting 71. Lim’s round was capped off by an eagle on the par-5 11th hole, but three bogeys on her final five holes prevented her from shooting lower. Nevertheless, it was another consistent showing from the sophomore as she finished the day in a tie for fourth. 

Merrill kept the scorecard relatively clean, cashing in three birdies and a sole bogey to sit in a tie for seventh individually. Ding bounced back nicely from round one with a 70 in round two, getting herself closer to the individual leader. 

Sattelkau shot 71 on Day Two while Claggett finished with a 73.

“The girls did a great job of coming out and putting their foot on the gas,” Allen said after round two. “It was really a team effort, as all five girls were under or near par most of the day.”

On Day Three, Vanderbilt emerged victorious and conquered a loaded field. Ding was the hero for the Commodores, firing an astonishing 5-under 67 to vault herself up the individual leaderboard and secure Vanderbilt the team title. 

Ding’s round was capped off by seven birdies in what was an excellent display of golf. Three straight birdies to begin her round set the tone for the day, and she earned Vanderbilt’s lowest round of the tournament. This pushed Ding into a tie for fifth individually, her first top-five finish of the season. 

“How about that round by Ginnie Ding,” Allen said. “She absolutely came in clutch when we needed it most. That’s the kind of round we’ve been waiting on from her.”

Lim struggled slightly in round three, notching a 74 in what was her only over-par round of the tournament. Still, Lim managed to finish in a tie for eighth after three solid rounds of golf. It marks Lim’s fourth top-10 finish of the season, which is tied for the most of any Commodore this season. 

Merrill shot 75 in round three to finish the tournament in a tie for 13th. It is her fourth top-20 finish of the season as she continues to play her best golf this spring. Claggett struggled in round three, shooting 77 to finish in a tie for 24th. 

Sattelkau shot 75 on Day Three, finishing the tournament in a tie for 33rd. 

“We’ve shown signs of really good golf this spring,” Allen said. “We have played some great rounds here and there, so it’s nice to put together a complete tournament and come away with a win. Winning isn’t easy, and we certainly aren’t going to take this for granted.”

This was the team’s first team victory of the spring season, and they are trending in the right direction heading into postseason play. Lim and Ding proved why they are two of the top college golfers, both collecting top-10 finishes.

The Vanderbilt Women’s Golf team returns to action at the SEC Championships in Belleair, Fla., beginning on April 12.

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About the Contributor
Henry Oelhafen
Henry Oelhafen, Deputy Sports Editor
Henry Oelhafen (‘26) is a student in Peabody College majoring in human and organizational development and minoring in business. Henry grew up as a Vanderbilt sports fan and loves to talk about both professional and amateur golf. In addition to writing, he loves to play golf with friends, hike and try new restaurants. He can be reached at [email protected].
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