Natasha Kiel (Vanderbilt Athletics photo)
Vanderbilt was in no mood to be a gracious host on Saturday on its home course in Franklin, Tenn.
Behind 66 by sophomore Natasha Kiel and a 67 by freshman Tillie Claggett, the Commodores shot to the top of the leaderboard at the Mason Rudolph Championships at the Vanderbilt Legends Club's North Course on Saturday.
At 18-under 558, the Dores will take a two-stroke lead over Arizona into Sunday's final round while Mississippi State is six back at 12-under.
Kiel tied the third-lowest round by a Vandy player in Mason Rudolph history after collecting seven birdies, helping the sophomore move into a tie for 13th place in the individual standings while Claggett’s bogey-free round was keyed by an eagle on the par-five fourth hole.
“What a day. I’m so proud of these girls for coming out and doing their thing,” said Vandy head coach Greg Allen. “It was great watching Nat play today. She played with so much confidence. Tillie continues to be impressive. She’s got the length that can overpower a golf course and it’s showing so far; she’s putted for eagle on six of the eight par fives the last two days.”
In addition to stellar rounds turned in by underclassmen Kiel and Claggett, Vanderbilt also received another strong outing by senior Celina Sattelkau, who followed her opening round of 69 with a 70 (-2) on Saturday.
“Celina continues to do Celina things and was really close to posting a low number,” said Allen. “And I’m proud of how Lynn handled herself today. It’s not always easy playing in the one spot as a freshman, I thought she looked very mature. She handled her emotions very well.”
Led by a career-low round of 67 from sophomore Lilas Pinthier, Arizona remains in the title hunt after two rounds in Franklin where the young Wildcats will be tasked with chasing down the Commodores on their home course come Sunday.
Arizona's Gile Bite Starkute and Carolina Melgrati turned in 2-under rounds of 70 while freshman Julie Misemer carded a 71 to keep the 'Cats in the title chase. After carding a 68 (-4) in her first round as a collegian on Friday, Arizona freshman Nena Wongthanavimok shot a 75 on Saturday and is tied for 16th at 1-under.
"Today was a great day for our entire lineup out there," said Arizona head coach Laura Ianello. "We really capitalized off a great foundation from yesterday's round and carded even better scores today. To have four players below par in a round is a testament to our young women who show determination with every swing out there. We enter Sunday's finale in a three-way battle for a tournament win, and I couldn't ask for more from our team."
Chattanooga turned in the third lowest round of the day behind Vanderbilt and Arizona with a 9-under 279 which moved the Moccasins seven spots up the leaderboard into a tie for fifth with LSU at 3-over 579.
"It was truly a great day," said Chattanooga head coach Colette Murray. "We fired on all cylinders. This team is so capable of doing great things, and today was a reflection of that. It shows the type of team we are meant to be."
Claggett and Auburn's Megan Schofill are tied for the individual lead at 7-under, while Pinthier and Dorota Zalewska of Chattanooga are one back. Hannah Levi of Mississippi State and Arizona's Sattelkau are just two off the pace.
Vanderbilt, Arizona and Chattanooga Athletic Communications contributed to this report.
ABOUT THE Mason Rudolph Women's Championship
54-hole women's college event hosted by
Vanderbilt University. Team (best four scores out of
players each round) and individual competitions.
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