For two years Vanderbilt has known it would be hosting the 2012 NCAA Division Women’s Golf Championship.
Now, the Commodores know they will play in it.
With a runner-up finish at the Central Regional on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, Vanderbilt qulified for the national championship on May 22-25 at Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin.
“Ever since we were named the host site for this year's championship a few years ago, I’ve thought about today and making the championship,” coach Greg Allen said. “For our players to step up the way they did — to post a great round Friday, and then to hang in there and get second place after a hard day — I’m really proud of them.
"It is a huge sigh of relief. Like it or not, there was some added pressure out there this week, and we showed some good character to overcome it.”
The Commodores head to their third straight national championship after posting a three-day total of 899 — behind only USC (874). Two-time Southeastern Conference Player of the Year Marina Alex shot one-under par 215 and finished third individually. Junior Lauren Stratton placed eighth with a five-over par 221. Freshman Kendall Martindale shot a nine-over par 225 to tie for 17th — her best finish of the season.
Along with USC and Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Purdue, Virginia, Ohio State, North Carolina State and Arkansas qualified out of the Central Regional.
The top eight teams from the three regionals and the top two individuals not on those teams make up the national championship field.
• Women's tennis: Marie Casares won at both singles and doubles, but Vandebilt fell 4-1 to No. 5 USC in the second round of the NCAA regional tournament Saturday at Los Angeles.
Casares and Ashleigh Antal teamed for an 8-6 victory at No. 2 doubles and, with one match remaining, gave the Commodores (17-10) a chance at the doubles point. That point went to USC, which then won three of the four completed singles matches and earned its spot among the final 16 teams.
Casares, a freshman from Ecuador, won 6-2 6-3 at No. 3 singles over Sabrina Santamaria, the nation;s 26th-ranked player.
Vanderbilt advanced to the second round with a 4-1 victory over San Diego on Friday. Casares and Antal teamed for an 8-5 victory in that one. In her singles match, Casares was down a set and tied 3-3 in the second set when her teammates clinched the victory.
• Men's tennis: Charlie Jones and Blake Bazarnik won in singles and teamed for a victory at No. 2 doubles but Vanderbilt fell 4-3 to Notre Dame on Friday in the opening round of the NCAA regional at Columbus, Ohio.
The outcome was settled at No. 2 singles, the only three-set match of the contest. Vanderbilt's Gonzales Austin fell 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.
Jones won 6-1, 6-3 at No. 1 singles, and Bazarnik won 7-5, 7-5 at No. 4 after they managed an 8-6 victory at No. 2 doubles, which clinched the doubles point for the Commodores.