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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: Vanderbilt finishes 10th at SEC Championships

Despite a strong performance from Virginie Ding, the Commodores missed the match play portion of the SEC Championships for the first time since the 2016-17 season.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Lynn Lim tees off at the SEC Championships, as photographed on April 13, 2024. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

The No. 20 Vanderbilt Women’s Golf team competed at the SEC Championships from April 12-14 at the Pelican Golf Club in Belleair, Fla. The Commodores finished in 10th place with a total team score of +26. Vanderbilt missed the match play portion of the tournament, which includes the top-eight teams after 54 holes, for the first time since the 2016-17 season. Virginie Ding led Vanderbilt with an overall score of even-par, which was good for T8. 

Lynn Lim, Ava Merrill, Celina Sattelkau and Ding drew the start for the Commodores. Sara Im filled in for an injured Tillie Claggett for the first two rounds, before being replaced by Claggett for the final round. 

On Day One, Vanderbilt shot an 8-over 288 to sit in ninth place after 18 holes. Ding had the round of the day, shooting a 1-under 69 to vault herself up the individual leaderboard. She had four birdies and three bogeys to earn her third-consecutive round in red figures. 

Sattelkau and Im both shot 2-over 72 to keep Vanderbilt within striking distance of leader South Carolina. Lim and Merrill both shot 75. 

The 18th hole proved to be disastrous for the entire team, as all players were a collective 7-over on this final hole.  

“After playing some really good golf most of the day, it’s obviously a bit disappointing to finish the way we did but no one is discouraged,” head coach Greg Allen said. “We talked about what went wrong and will be ready to go tomorrow.”

On Day Two, Vanderbilt jumped up two spots on the leaderboard to seventh place. Merrill had the low round of the day for Vanderbilt shooting a 2-under 68 to sit in a tie for 21st after 36 holes. The freshman collected four birdies and just two bogeys to earn the third-lowest score of the tournament on Saturday. 

Ding produced another consistent round of golf, shooting an even-par 70 to sit in a tie for eighth individually. 

“I’m proud of how Ava [Merrill] stepped up today,” Allen said after round two. “Despite some late bogeys by Ding, she really played well.”

Aside from Ding and Merrill, it was a rough day for Vanderbilt with the tough scoring conditions. Lim shot 74 while Im shot 76. An unfortunate double bogey on Sattelkau’s second hole of the day set a poor tone as she finished with a 77. 

“I thought we did a nice job of weathering the storm early, as we didn’t get off to a hot start,” Allen said. “Once we settled down, we showed a lot of fight. I thought we lost a little focus at the end and made some sloppy bogeys. Despite that, we still managed to move up the board a little bit.”

With only eight spots in the match play portion of the tournament and six teams getting cut, Vanderbilt would have to battle on Day Three to secure their spot. Unfortunately for the Commodores, their luck ran out as they fired a collective 10-over 290 to finish the tournament in 10th place. 

Vanderbilt seemed to be trending in the right direction after the front nine, moving up to fifth place with just nine holes remaining. However, another disastrous back nine — the team dropped 11 strokes — was the dagger which killed Vanderbilt’s chances of making it to match play.

Claggett returned from injury for the final day and was able to match Virginie Ding with a 1-over 71. Ding finished the tournament in a tie for eighth, her third top-10 finish this season. 

Merrill, Lim and Sattelkau all shot 74 to push Vanderbilt out of contention. A disastrous quintuple bogey for Lim on the 12th hole derailed her round entirely. 

“This is definitely going to sting for a little bit,” Allen said after round three. “I feel really bad for our girls because they played with a lot of heart today, but in the end, we made too many big numbers this week. Our conference is way too deep for us to do that and expect to make it to match play.”

The Commodores will now look forward to NCAA Regionals which will take place from May 6-8. Vanderbilt will know its postseason destination after the NCAA Selection Show which will air on Golf Channel at 1 p.m. CDT on April 24.

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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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