The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

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.

Eyes on the Natty: 2022 Men’s Golf Preview

After being defeated in the semifinals last year, Vanderbilt has their sights set on the National Championship this season.
Vanderbilt+will+look+to+build+on+their+success+from+last+season+in+2022.+%28Vanderbilt+Athletics%29
Vanderbilt Athletics
Vanderbilt will look to build on their success from last season in 2022. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

It’s been 99 days since the Commodores fell just short of their national title dreams. On May 31, they lost to Texas in the NCAA Championship semifinals, just hours after prevailing over Texas Tech in an epic comeback victory. 

After the loss, head coach Scott Limbaugh spoke reflectively about Vanderbilt’s success on the season, but was already looking ahead to the 2022-23 season.

 “Best season we’ve ever had…But this loss certainly won’t define us,” Limbaugh said.

Today, nearly an even 100 days after Vanderbilt’s NCAA tournament exit, that loss is the last thing on the mind of the Commodore golfers. 

Vanderbilt comes into the season ranked No. 2 in the nation by the Golf Channel, behind only North Carolina. On top of that, the Commodores are returning many of the players that made last season a historic one, including individual defending national champion Gordon Sargent

Sargent will look to build on a freshman campaign that, along with the individual national champion title, saw him win the 2022 Phil Mickelson Outstanding Freshman Award and SEC Freshman of the Year award. Sargent capped his summer off competing for Team USA in the World Amateur Team Championship in Paris, France. He finished the event 3 under par and tied for 36th individually.

Right by Sargent’s side will be Cole Sherwood, who is coming off an electric sophomore spring. Sherwood’s revelation of a season included breaking Vanderbilt legend Brandt Snedeker’s 54-hole scoring record, shooting a 196 in the Cabo Collegiate Invitational. Sargent and Sherwood, considered perhaps the best one-two punch in collegiate golf, combined for 4 wins and 12 other top-10s last season.

Fifth-year senior Reid Davenport and senior William Moll will prove vital to the success of this team as well. Davenport, who comes into the season ranked sixth on the initial PGA TOUR University rankings, was as consistent as they come last year, averaging a score of 70.7. Davenport also notably sank a clutch pressure putt to send Vanderbilt to the semifinals of the tournament. Moll, who posted a 2-1 record in match play in the SEC Championships last season, has returned to campus strong and ready to be a regular part of the lineup this year.

Sophomore Jackson Van Paris and freshman Wells Williams make up some of the exciting young talent on this squad. Van Paris’s sterling resumé includes winning the 2020 Sea Pines Junior Heritage, winning the 10th annual Junior Invitational at Sage Valley and being the youngest player to win a match at the U.S. Amateur since 1916. Williams comes to Nashville as the No. 1-ranked golfer in Mississippi, an AJGA First Team All-American and the No. 6 golfer in the 2022 recruiting class. He was, at one point, the No. 2 recruit but was derailed by an injury.

Senior Matthew Riedel and junior Jansen Preston will also see action this year. Riedel tied for seventh at the Jones Cup with a three-day total of 220 last year and boasted a stroke average of 71.1 his sophomore year. Preston is fresh off of shooting 5 under par at the Kentucky Open, which tied him for third and was good enough for the second-lowest score by an amateur.

Vanderbilt also added the Massachusetts Junior Amateur champion, John Broderick. Broderick is the No. 1-ranked golfer in Massachusetts and was also named Massachusetts Junior Player of the Year. The Commodores also welcomed freshman Ben Loomis to the roster.

Also notable from the Commodore offseason, former Vanderbilt golf standout Will Gordon gained full status on the PGA Tour and is set to play in the U.S. Open and Players Championship in 2023.

Today, Vanderbilt tees off their season in the Frederica Cup at Frederica Golf Club in Saint Simons Island, Georgia. Sargent, Sherwood, Davenport, Moll, Riedel and Preston will be in the lineup in this 2-day, 54-hole event. 

“It’s going to be a fun event and we are pumped to get the season started,” Limbaugh said. “Everything we want is in front of us so we have to keep looking forward and go compete to our standards”

Limbaugh left Commodore fans with one last statement that should provide massive hope for the campaign ahead.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you this team is the most talented we’ve ever had,” Limbaugh said.

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About the Contributor
Jonah Barbin
Jonah Barbin, Sports Podcast Producer
Jonah Barbin (‘25) is majoring in human and organizational development and cinema and media studies. In addition to writing about sports, you can catch him acting, scouring the fantasy football waiver wire, playing golf and fantasizing about what Odell Beckham Jr.’s career would have been if the Giants never traded him. You can reach him at [email protected].
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