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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 concludes season, finishes 20th at NCAA Championships

The Commodores had their best finish at the NCAA Championships since 2014.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Virginie Ding swings her driver, as photographed on May 6, 2024. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

The Vanderbilt Women’s Golf team competed at the NCAA Championships from May 17-19 in Carlsbad, Calif. at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa. The Commodores finished in 20th place among the 30 teams competing, as they were unable to make the 15-team cut after 54 holes to advance further in the tournament. The Commodores shot a 33-over 897 over the three days, their best finish at the NCAA Championships since 2014. 

Vanderbilt qualified for the Championships after placing fourth at its NCAA Regional in Bryan, Texas.

Lynn Lim, Celina Sattelkau, Virginie Ding, Tillie Claggett and Ava Merrill were the starters for Vanderbilt, with Sarah Im serving as an alternate. Im filled in for an injured Merill in round one, but Merill was able to return to the lineup for rounds two and three at the par-72 Omni La Costa North Course. 

On Day One, Vanderbilt sat in 25th place with a 12-over 300. Ding was the only Commodore to shoot under par in round one, firing a 1-under 71 to sit in 18th place after 18 holes. She rolled in four birdies on her back nine to shoot up the individual leaderboard and keep Vanderbilt in contention to make the 15-team cut. 

Sattelkau shot a 3-over 75, while Claggett and Lim both shot 77 to finish day one. All three of these players played holes 12 to 15 in a collective 9-over, which crushed Vanderbilt’s chances of surging further up the leaderboard in the early stages of the competition. 

“For some reason, we seem to like digging ourselves into a hole to start the tournament but this group has shown they are very comfortable fighting back,” head coach Greg Allen said. “That’s exactly what we need to do the next couple of days. I was proud of the finish we had today because they kept it from getting really out of hand.”

On Day Two, the Commodores made up some ground on the field. After carding a 7-over 295, the Black and Gold moved into a tie for 22nd and just eight strokes off the cutline. Claggett and Lim bounced back from tough first rounds, both shooting an even-par 72. A triple bogey on Claggett’s fourth hole didn’t phase her as she proceeded to shoot 2-under on her remaining 14 holes. 

Ding put together another solid round, shooting 73 to sit in 29th individually after 36 holes. She birdied two of her last three holes to keep Vanderbilt in contention for a top-15 finish to make the cut. 

Sattelkau shot 78 while Merrill, who returned to the lineup for round two, shot 81. 

“I thought we showed a lot of toughness today, especially Lynn [Lim], Tillie [Claggett] and Ding,” Allen said. “We were just another decent score away from putting up a number that would have moved us up the leaderboard.”

On Day Three, Vanderbilt shot a 14-over 302 to conclude its season and finish in 20th place. The windy conditions proved difficult for the Commodores as all players shot over-par. 

Claggett led the charge, firing a 1-over 73 in the final round to finish the tournament with a 6-over 222. Ding ended with the same overall total but shot a 78 in round three to drop down the individual leaderboard. 

Merrill bounced back from her tough second round, carding a 74. Lim and Sattelkau shot 80 and 77, respectively. 

“I thought we put up a heck of a fight today and we had some good looks at birdie coming down the stretch that unfortunately didn’t fall,” Allen said after the tournament. “I’m proud of the effort our girls showed today. They represented Vanderbilt in a first-class manner like they always do.”

Despite this tough ending to the season, Vanderbilt Women’s Golf had a record year, earning two victories at the Clemson Invitational and Mason Rudolph Championship. The Commodores finished the season with a No. 20 national ranking and will be returning three of its five starters next season. 

“I’m very grateful to our seniors for everything they did for this program and our university,” Allen said. “Celina [Sattelkau] and Ding have left their mark and made us better. Their futures are very bright. I’m pumped for the future we have with Tillie [Claggett], Lynn [Lim], Ava [Merrill] and Sara [Im]. The experience they gained this week will definitely help us when we get back here next year.”

It was a very young, inexperienced roster for Vanderbilt this postseason as three of its five starters were underclassmen. With several solid options to fill in for Sattelkau and Ding next year, the Commodores have a chance to be National Championship contenders yet again. 

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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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