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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.

Men’s Golf: Vanderbilt advances to quarterfinals of NCAA Tournament, Gordon Sargent wins national title

The Commodores’ dominant play was highlighted by Gordon Sargent, who is the first freshman to win the NCAA individual golf championship since 2007.
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Vanderbilt Athletics
Gordon Sargent hits a tee shot as coach Scott Limbaugh watches. (Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics)

Vanderbilt men’s golf will advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament after placing first following four days of match play. The Commodores were led by Gordon Sargent, who is the first freshman to win the NCAA individual national championship since 2007

After winning the NCAA Regional tournament for the second consecutive year, Vanderbilt entered the NCAA Championship with unmatched momentum. From May 27-29, 30 schools competed in 54 holes of stroke play in Scottsdale, Arizona, on the Raptor Course at Grayhawk Golf Club. At the end of the weekend, the field was cut in half. The Commodores comfortably made the cut and sat in third place heading into the fourth round of the tournament. Following 18 holes on Monday, Vanderbilt sprung into first place.

The Commodores excelled in the first round of the NCAA Championship, shooting a noteworthy 2-over 282. Vanderbilt held a three stroke lead after 18 holes, thanks to minimizing errors on a scorching hot day in Scottsdale. Junior William Moll, along with Sargent and Cole Sherwood, posted a solid even-par 70 on the day. Sherwood’s consistent play has sparked national recognition, as the sophomore was named a finalist for the 2022 NCAA DI Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award nearly one week ago. Although Vanderbilt only posted 11 birdies on Friday, they were able to remain consistent. 

“We had one score worse than bogey out here on this golf course. I think that shows a lot of toughness in my book,” head coach Scott Limbaugh said.   

Vanderbilt continued to impose their will on Saturday, scoring a 2-over 282 for the second consecutive day. Although the Commodores lost their lead to Oklahoma, they sat in second place heading into Sunday. While Moll and senior Reid Davenport struggled on Saturday, Sherwood and Sargent’s excellent play kept the Commodores in a comfortable position. Sherwood posted a 3-under 67, giving him the individual lead of the tournament after 36 holes. Sargent—the SEC Freshman of the Year—finished with a 68, thanks to notching six birdies

“Cole holed some big putts to keep momentum, and Gordon is doing a great job staying patient and trusting his plan,” Limbaugh said. “Reid and William didn’t have their best stuff today, but they fought hard with what they had, and we know they will be right there for us moving forward.”

Vanderbilt posted a one-over 281 on Sunday, marking their best round of the weekend. Sargent kept his foot on the gas and carded in another 68, leading him to keep his individual-tournament lead. His round included four birdies, 12 pars and two bogeys. Moll recovered nicely from a tumultuous Saturday and shot a two-under 68 on Sunday, thanks to dialing in five birdies. The Commodores were six strokes behind the Oklahoma Sooners after Sunday, but Limbaugh felt that the lead was for the taking.

“Going into the final round of stroke play Monday, you just have to trust the work you put in,” Limbaugh said. “Nothing gets better than being on a team, and we just need to be excited to play. It’ll be a great challenge.”

The Commodores took control on Monday, despite shooting a nine-over 289. Vanderbilt ended the weekend atop the leaderboard with Oklahoma, but the Commodores earned the No. 1 seed for match play due to a tiebreaker. 

While Davenport and Moll both led Vanderbilt with a one-over-par score of 71, Sargent stole the show. The freshman started Monday with a comfortable 4-under cushion, but he was tested throughout the day. Sargent notched zero birdies and four bogeys in 18 holes, scoring a 4-over 74. Through 72 holes of play, he was tied with three others, and the student-athletes entered a four-man playoff. Sargent was able to capture his first birdie of the day at the most ideal time: the first playoff hole. His birdie was enough to earn the Individual National Title. 

“It definitely took a lot of patience out there,” Sargent said. “I just kind of stuck to my game and just let it fall into place. It was just a tough day, and I just had to manage expectations well.”

The Commodores will begin the match play tournament on Tuesday, May 31 at 9:10 a.m. CST when they clash with the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

“It’s going to be a tough match in the morning and one that I think our guys will be up for,” Limbaugh said. “We know the kind of team Texas Tech has, but really it’s about us and what we do.”

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About the Contributor
Andrew Wilf
Andrew Wilf, Former Sports Editor
Andrew Wilf (’24) is Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. He is from Livingston, N.J., and is majoring in history and minoring in business. He joined the sports staff his freshman year, previously serving as a Staff Writer, Assistant Sports Editor and Deputy Sports Editor. Beyond writing for The Hustler, he is also the host of Anchor Analysis, Commodore Clash and Live From West End. In his free time, Andrew enjoys watching the NFL and playing golf. He can be reached at [email protected].
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