Coming off of a tenth-place finish in the Cougar Classic in Charleston, South Carolina, the Lady Vols will next compete locally in the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship. This two-day tournament starts September 17 and concludes on September 18.
This is the second tournament of Head Coach Judi Pavon’s nineteenth season as head coach of the Lady Vols.
Junior Micheala Williams had the low score for the Lady Vols in the Cougar Classic, tying for ninth place shooting five under par.
Coach Pavon will be looking to rely on a leader to help guide them through this season.
“Everybody is doing a good job really looking out for the team,” Pavon said. “Micheala Williams is a Junior and she is the most veteran player on the team, she has played in the most tournaments, so she has stepped up a lot and looked out for some of the younger ones.”
A tournament at home greatly benefits Tennessee, as they are familiar with the course that they will be golfing on.
“We know Cherokee really well,” Pavon said. “If the weather gets poor I think that will be a good advantage for us because we know the course so well.”
In the Cougar Classic, the Lady Vols sported a younger lineup. Freshman Mikayla Bardwell as well as Sophomores Mariah Smith and Waverly Whitson comprised three of the five that competed.
“For the Mercedes,” Pavon said. “The senior that played (In the Cougar Classic) will be playing as an individual and we’re having another freshman step up and play so we’ll be very young.”
Pavon attributes this youth to the focus on and effort put into recruiting.
“I try to do a great job recruiting,” Pavon said. “Which means that the young players come in and they are really strong.”
As for Williams, this will be her third time competing the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship.
“I know the course pretty well and we all have played it a bunch in practice,” Williams said. “I think the atmosphere will be pretty good.”
This will be the second tournament for Williams this season, following her team-best performance in Charleston.
“My ball stroking was really good, I hit a lot of greens inside of fifteen feet and had seven birdies and one bogey,” Williams said. “I hit it close and didn’t make a lot of errors.”
This has been a memorable run for the junior. This summer Williams qualified to play in the U.S. Women’s Amateur in August following her third-place finish in the qualifier. Williams was the first Lady Vol to do so since 2016.
“I think that experience helped me a lot,” Williams said. “Especially the experience in the qualifier and then once I got there (U.S. Women’s Amateur) playing against the best people in the country.”
Coach Pavon and the Lady Vols will look to build off their last performance and show improvement in the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Classic, teeing off September 17.