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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt men’s golf wins second straight SEC Championship

The No. 3 Vanderbilt Commodores won the SEC Men’s Golf Championship for the second straight year and the third time in the last five years.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Vanderbilt men’s golf holds up their SEC Championship trophy on April 24, 2022. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

The No. 3 Vanderbilt Commodores won their second straight SEC Men’s Golf Championship at the par-70 Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Georgia, on April 24. It’s Vanderbilt’s third SEC title in five years and the third under head coach Scott Limbaugh.

After entering the event as the top ranked team in the conference, the Commodores led the stroke play section wire-to-wire before winning all three match play rounds to seal the title. 

“We have some really good players on the team, and everyone believes in each other,” junior William Moll told The Hustler. “So when everyone goes out there, we can be confident in our teammates.”

In the opening stroke-play round on April 20, the Commodores set the tone for the week by shooting a combined 273, seven shots under par and three shots clear of the second-place Georgia Bulldogs. Like the title-winning run as a whole, Wednesday’s round was a team effort—Reid Davenport, Gordon Sargent and Cole Sherwood all finished in the top 10 in the individual standings. 

In Round 2 on Thursday, the Commodores expanded their lead over the field to four shots with a combined 274. Davenport stayed in a tie for second with his second consecutive 69, while Moll shot a team-best 67 to move into the top 30.

During the final round of stroke play, Vanderbilt needed only a top-eight finish to secure their spot in the match-play section of the tournament. Remaining consistent, the Commodores shot a 277 to finish stroke play, leading wire-to-wire. Sargent finished in second place in the individual standings at 5 under but was the only player in the field to score under par in all three rounds. All five Vanderbilt golfers finished in the top 25 to secure the Commodores the top seed in the match play.

“We had a really good game plan for the course,” Moll said. “Most people on the team have had success on that course too, so I think we were just really confident rolling into the week.”

In the first match play round on Saturday morning, the Commodores defeated the Mississippi State Bulldogs 3-2-0. Despite being the last team to qualify for the quarterfinals, Mississippi State fought Vanderbilt in a tight match. Moll won 4&3, and fifth-year senior Harrison Ott won 1-up, but Sherwood and Sargent both lost tight matches. Davenport secured Vanderbilt a spot in the semifinals with a 19-hole win over the Bulldogs’ Ford Clegg.

The Commodores played their second match of the day on Saturday afternoon in a semifinal against the LSU Tigers. With the match all square at 2-2, Davenport won 4&3 again to clinch Vanderbilt a chance at back-to-back conference titles.

Sunday morning’s championship pitted Vanderbilt against the Florida Gators. Despite the Commodores getting an early lead, ahead 4-1 around the halfway point, the Gators fought back. The match was tied at 2-2 when Sherwood, playing in the last matchup of the day, clinched a 3&2 win over Yuxin Lin to win the tournament. All five Commodores won at least one of their matches, but Davenport was the only golfer to win all three. 

It’s just the third league title in Vanderbilt program history, all of which have come in the last five years. The Commodores will next compete in the NCAA Regional beginning May 16. It will be the 15th regional appearance in Vanderbilt program history, where the Commodores are seeking their 11th trip to the NCAA Championships in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“We still have big goals for the rest of the postseason,” Moll said. “Everyone’s really excited and celebrating but pretty soon, everyone’s going to be getting back to work for the next couple tournaments.”

The regional field will be announced on May 4 at 4 p.m. CDT on the GOLF Channel, as the Commodores will learn both their opponents and their regional site.

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About the Contributor
Frankie Sheehy
Frankie Sheehy, Former Deputy Sports Editor
Frankie Sheehy ('24) wrote for The Hustler Sports section and graduated from the College of Arts and Science with majors in economics and law, history and society. He was also the president of the Vanderbilt Chess Club and a superfan of the Chicago White Sox. You can reach him at [email protected].
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