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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.

2023 Season Preview: Men’s Golf

With a deep and experienced roster, Coach Limbaugh’s squad is ready to start the hunt for a National Championship trophy.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Gordon Sargent hits an iron shot on July. 7, 2023. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

It was a disappointing finish last season for the Vanderbilt’s Men’s Golf team. A team with so much potential fell short of its national title dreams, placing 11th at the NCAA Championships and failing to qualify for the matchplay portion of the tournament. The Commodores seemed destined to finally win the National Championship but failed to play consistent golf in the final week of the season, leaving Vanderbilt fans disappointed and heartbroken. 

However, while the Commodores might have failed to achieve their end goal in May, Vanderbilt still had its most successful season of all-time. Vanderbilt won a program record six times, led by the world amateur No.1 Gordon Sargent. The Commodores had a deep roster, with Gordon Sargent, William Moll and Matthew Riedel all earning First Team All-SEC honors, and Cole Sherwood earning Second Team All-SEC honors. 

Now, three months after the NCAA Championships, the 2023-24 college golf season is upon us. Commodore fans are once again filled with hope and optimism that this is Vanderbilt’s year to finally break through and win a national title. With arguably an even stronger lineup, the Commodores have the talent and experience to have another great season. 

Luckily, the Commodores will be returning almost all of their players from last season, only losing Reid Davenport. With the addition of talented freshmen in Rowan Sullivan and Chase Nevins, it will be competitive to make the lineup for tournaments. This group has the potential to be the deepest roster in the country and is arguably Vanderbilt’s most talented team in recent memory.

This loaded roster earned the Commodores the No.2 overall national ranking according to Golf Channel and Golfweek, only behind the University of North Carolina.

Sargent, the standout junior from Alabama, will continue to be the player that Limbaugh puts at the top of the lineup. Sargent is possibly the most decorated player in Vanderbilt Men’s Golf history. He’s won individually five times, a program record. He earned low amateur honors at the U.S. Open, participated at the Masters Tournament, went undefeated at the Walker Cup and earned a record ten top-10’s in his sophomore season. After he competes in the World Team Amateur Championships in October, Sargent will successfully earn his PGA Tour Card. The junior will be the leader for this Vanderbilt roster, and coming off a fantastic summer on the professional and amateur golf circuit, many expect him to have another stellar season. 

Moll, a graduate student out of Texas, will be another strong contributor to this lineup. This will be his fifth year with the Commodores and his veteran leadership can hopefully guide this team to success. After being named First Team All-SEC and Second Team All-American last season, Moll is set to have another great year with the Commodores. He is ranked third in the PGA Tour University rankings. The top ranked player in PGA Tour U at the end of the season will earn a PGA Tour Card and the top five players will earn status on the Korn Ferry Tour. 

Riedel, the fifth-year senior from Texas, will also play a big role in this year’s lineup. After a successful senior season in which he earned First Team All-SEC honors and recorded five top-10 finishes, Riedel is back on campus to provide this team with even more veteran leadership. Riedel is ranked No. 8 on the PGA Tour University rankings and many believe this could be the year he dominates college golf. 

Both Riedel and Moll returning for fifth years will massively benefit this lineup.

Cole Sherwood, a senior from the Longhorn State, had a solid summer on the amateur golf circuit. Sherwood advanced to the round of 16 at the Western Amateur and placed sixth at the Northeast Amateur, two of amateur golf’s most prestigious summer tournaments. He had a solid junior season with the Commodores, however, he was unable to win any individual titles. Nevertheless, he remained in the lineup the entire season, showing coach Limbaugh’s trust and faith in his game. He enters the season ranked No. 21 in the PGA Tour University rankings. 

Jackson Van Paris, the junior from North Carolina, had arguably the best summer on the amateur golf circuit of anyone in this lineup. Many would project him to be the fifth starter for this lineup, considering he won the Sunnehanna Amatuer, finished third at the Northeast Amateur, and was a semifinalist at the North and South Amateur. All of these tournaments are among the most prestigious summer amateur golf tournaments. This could potentially be Van Paris’ year to break out onto the college golf scene and cement himself as a starter in this lineup. 

Another player to watch out for is Wells Williams, a sophomore from Mississippi, who won the Cabo Collegiate last year in dramatic fashion. He was named to the All-SEC Freshman team last year and will likely be in the lineup at some point this season.

As for the newcomers on the team, Nevins and Sullivan, this lineup is certainly going to be one of the hardest to crack in the entire country. While the freshmen may not earn any starts this year, they will be critical to the success of Vanderbilt Men’s Golf in the future. Still, not everything is certain, and one of these freshmen could make a strong impact this season. 

Vanderbilt has the experience and depth to excel again this season. This team’s schedule will bring the Commodores from Texas to Scotland, and a hot start to the season at the Valero Texas Collegiate will prove that Vanderbilt can live up to the hype. Limbaugh is a knowledgeable and experienced coach with one of the strongest teams in the country. All of this suggests that there is no ceiling for what this team could accomplish.

The Commodores will tee off in San Antonio, Texas, for the Valero Texas Collegiate from Sept. 9-11.

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About the Contributor
Henry Oelhafen, Sports Copy Editor
Henry Oelhafen (‘26) is a student in Peabody College majoring in human and organizational development and minoring in business. Henry grew up as a Vanderbilt sports fan and loves to talk about both professional and amateur golf. In addition to writing, he loves to play golf with friends, hike and try new restaurants. He can be reached at [email protected].
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