Vanderbilt coach attends Blasberg funeral

Vanderbilt coach Greg Allen sports a hat with the lettering SKIP, in remembrance of LPGA player Erica Blasberg. Allen was Blasberg's college coach at Arizona.


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WILMINGTON, N.C. – When Vanderbilt coach Greg Allen left the Country Club of Landfall to hop a plane Tuesday evening, he gave his team some explicit instructions: Secure an afternoon tee time for Round 3.

Allen, who coached the late Erica Blasberg at Arizona from 2002-04, left the NCAA Championship and flew across the country to Corona, Calif., to attend the memorial service and funeral Wednesday. It’s been an emotional week for Allen, who also is sporting a hat with the word “Skip,” Blasberg’s nickname, written on the right side.

Under the direction of assistant coach Nicki Cutler, the Commodores put up a 4-over 292 in Round 2, moving from T-12 to eighth. That meant Allen would have to only miss one round of the national championship.

“They did exactly what I thought they would do: Go out and play their very best and give it everything they had until the last putt drops,” Allen said.

Allen was back in Wilmington by 12:30 a.m. Thursday, and caught a few hours of rest before his players began teeing off a little after 2:30 p.m. Vanderbilt posted its best round of the tournament in Round 3, a 3-over 291, to move up two spots on the leaderboard and into sixth.

“I had a great talk with my team last Tuesday after we figured out what was going on, and I just asked them to do what they’ve done all year - and that’s persevere through some adversity and continue to do it,” Allen said. “... They played great yesterday, and they played great today. They’re having fun, and that’s what this team has been doing all year.”

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