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.

Men’s Golf: Bending, not breaking, at the Ben Hogan Invitational

Vanderbilt had a great last day at the Colonial Country Club, but it wasn’t enough to dig themselves out of the hole they trapped themselves in.
Vanderbilt Athletics
The Vanderbilt men’s golf team competed in the Linger Longer Invitational from March 20-22, 2022. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

After a disappointing loss at the hands of Tennessee, Vanderbilt was back in action at the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invitational on Oct. 3. Despite a valiant comeback effort, the team finished fifth in the tournament, marking two straight losses.

Playing well at what is considered one of the premiere regular season college golf tournaments promised to be the perfect way for the Commodores to turn the page from a tough end to SEC Match Play. Despite the defeat, Vanderbilt still remains atop the Bushnell/Golfweek DI Coaches Poll that was released on Sept. 30.

Colonial Country Club is located in Fort Worth, Texas, and has a course par of 70.

“It’s so exciting for our student-athletes to get to play on a golf course like Colonial against a championship field,” head coach Scott Limbaugh said. “This is why you choose to play at a place like Vanderbilt.”

The lineup for this tournament was the same as the last, consisting of Gordon Sargent, William Moll, Cole Sherwood, Matthew Riedel and Reid Davenport. 

Vanderbilt competed against Arizona State, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pepperdine, Stanford, Texas, Texas Tech, Southern California, Wake Forest and, the host of the tournament, TCU. It was a field full of talent: Eight of the teams made the NCAA quarterfinals last year, and 15 golfers in the event were ranked in the top 30 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

“It’s been awesome seeing different guys step up [in] the first two tournaments, and we will need more guys stepping up this week,” Limbaugh said. “We have a good team when we are excited and enthusiastic about playing, having fun and competing to our Vandy golf standards.”

On Monday, the Commodores tee’d off their 36-hole day at about 8:15 a.m. CDT. It certainly wasn’t the start Vanderbilt was looking for, as they began the day by shooting a 6-over-par 286 on the first 18. There were bright spots, however: Sherwood and SEC stroke play winner Riedel both shot a 69.

“We started on some hard holes early and just kind of played from behind,” Limbaugh said.

The Commodores recovered a bit during the second round of the day, shooting a collective 2 under par and tying them for seventh on the day. Sargent fired a 66 in the second round, moving him into the top 10 players in the tournament with a 2 under par overall. Riedel finished the day even, Sherwood finished at plus 2, Moll finished at plus 4 and Davenport finished at plus 13.

“Tuesday is an important day, and we need to embrace that. I know we can be better if we approach the day with enthusiasm,” Limbaugh said. “We can be better if we continue to have high demands for ourselves and each other and have some fun playing Vandy golf.”

Vanderbilt did just that on Tuesday, coming out firing and shooting a collective 5-under-par 275—tying the day’s low score. The solid performance, which included 16 birdies, propelled Vanderbilt into a respectable fifth overall finish in the tournament. However, the Commodores finished well short of North Carolina (minus 15 overall) with which they are often in conversation for best program in the nation.

Tuesday was another great day for Sargent, who shot another 66 and finished tied for third overall in the tournament at 6 under par. No other player finished under par for the Commodores. The second best finish for Vanderbilt was a tie for 22nd between Sherwood and Riedel, who both shot 1 over par.

“I think the character of a team is revealed when things are hard and don’t go quite like you hoped they would,” Limbaugh said. “This was an NCAA Championship type field, and we battled and showed the right type of fibers without everyone having their best stuff.”

Despite another loss, Limbaugh is not panicking. 

“We aren’t disappointed with where we are, but we certainly need to embrace getting better and growing,” Limbaugh said.

After a lot of playtime recently, Vanderbilt will have some time to regroup and prepare for a long season ahead.

The Commodores will travel to Atlanta to compete in the East Lake Cup on Oct. 24. Notably, all four semi-final teams from the 2022 NCAA Golf National Championship will be participating.

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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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