By Derby Jones, Publisher
Franklin’s Vanderbilt Legends Club will host the 2012 NCAA Women’s Golf National Championship in the spring, according to an announcement made yesterday.
The tournament will be played May 22-25 over the North Course at Vanderbilt Legends Club and marks the first time that a major collegiate national championship will be held in Middle Tennessee.
Vanderbilt head coach Greg Allen said that 24 teams would eventually qualify for the championship, along with top individuals from teams that do not make the cut.
“This is an outstanding event and we are absolutely thrilled to serve as the host institution,” Allen said. “It is a great chance for all sports fans and those that play and love the game of golf to watch the best collegiate talent in the country. Many of those competing will eventually play on the LPGA Tour.”
Franklin Mayor Dr. Ken Moore is proud his city will also be hosting and he sees other benefits.
“The tournament will be attracting golfers and fans from across the country so we have the opportunity to showcase historic Franklin,” Moore said. “We will be rolling out the red carpet and looking forward to the tournament. One such example is country music star Vince Gill, who has agreed to perform for the golfers on the eve of the tournament at the Franklin Theatre. It adds a very special touch.”
Rogers Anderson, Williamson County mayor, is also excited about the possibilities.
“This county is going to benefit economically with the tournament being played over four days,” Anderson said. “We have had an excellent record of hosting events and we will make sure that we do all we can to make sure out guests have a very favorable impression of Williamson County and Middle Tennessee.”
It took the work of the local governments as well as the chambers to help bring this tournament to the area. Williamson County Chamber of Commerce President Nancy Conway knows what it takes to host a tournament of this caliber as she worked closely with the LPGA when they played at Legends. “We started working with them (NCAA) in July and I offered strong words of encouragement that this community knows how to provide manpower to help with a golf tournament,” said Conway. “Williamson County can provide the resources to host this tournament, we have done this before and now we are so excited to have the NCAA championship event in May.”
While Vanderbilt will be hosting the tournament they are not guaranteed a spot in the field. They will have to qualify just like the other 24 teams in the tournament by winning in the regionals. However, if Vanderbilt does qualify, the home course advantage should come into play. Williamson County native and No. 2 ranked golfer at Vanderbilt Lauren Stratton is excited about the opportunity this tournament provides. “This is great for Legends and the Franklin area to host this tournament,” said Stratton. “I feel very comfortable playing here and should we qualify, I would feel very good about our chances. This should give us a home course advantage.”
Stratton, from Spring Hill, played golf at Independence High School.
Allen said one early point of emphasis is securing a small army of volunteers needed to help insure the tournament runs smoothly. As many as 175 volunteers are needed per day for a variety of tasks that most golf enthusiasts find enjoyable. Vanderbilt’s athletic Web site, www.vucommodores.com has information and a signup link. Potential volunteers may also call Lisa Webb at Vanderbilt at 615-343-6494.
Posted on: 11/16/2011