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: Vanderbilt falls just short in Birmingham

The Commodores were unable to capture the title at SEC Match Play this week after a slow start.
Vanderbilt+Mens+Golf+competes+in+SEC+Match+Play+from+Sept.+25-27%2C+2023+%28Vanderbilt+Athletics%29.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Vanderbilt Men’s Golf competes in SEC Match Play from Sept. 25-27, 2023 (Vanderbilt Athletics).

After coming from behind to win the title the final day of the Valero Texas Regional earlier this month, Vanderbilt set its sights forward to SEC Match Play. The competition, a preview of the SEC Championships set to take place in April of 2024, took place at the Country Club of Birmingham in Birmingham, Ala., and pitted all 14 conference teams against each250

The No. 3 Commodores got off to a much slower start than what would typically be expected of them, tying for fifth place after the first 18 holes on Day One. 

It wasn’t until Day Two that the Commodores came alive. Gordon Sargent caught fire, showing why he is the No. 1 player in all of NCAA Men’s Golf. The junior ended the day at 13 under with a score 129 through 36 holes, nailing an eagle on Hole 12 of the day. Sargent — a Brinmingham native — held a three-stroke lead ahead of Brendan Valdes of Auburn after the first 36.

Matthew Riedel joined Sargent within the top 10 of individual player leaderboards at 8 under par. William Moll ended the second day of competition with a 139, leaving him three strokes under par, third among all Commodores in the competition. 

The Commodores entered their final day of the tournament on Wednesday, Sept. 27, against Auburn with the hope of completing their comeback bid and capturing their second title in as many competitions. Riedel and Cole Sherwood picked up essential wins for the Commodores, while Jackson Van Paris dropped his match. That left Sargent and Moll, two of Vanderbilt’s most experienced and skilled players, to determine the match in extra holes after the first 18 of the day saw them each deadlocked with their respective opponents. Sargent fell in the 19th hole, leaving Moll to determine the winner. The graduate transfer out of Houston, Texas, kept it tied for the first hole before ultimately falling on hole 20. 

In the end, the Commodores lost three individual matches to Auburn while only winning two, finishing the competition in second place overall.

“There were a lot of people out watching great golf on a great golf course,” head coach Scott Limbaugh said. “Both teams were making big shots and I’m really proud of our team. I thought we showed a lot of competitive character out there today.”

Vanderbilt will have a quick break before it heads back to Texas, this time to compete in the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invitational in Fort Worth from Oct. 2-3.

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About the Contributor
Aiden Rutman, Senior Staff Writer
Aiden Rutman (‘25) is a student in Peabody College majoring in human and organizational development and minoring in communication studies. He formerly produced The Hustler’s sports podcast, Live from West End. In addition to writing and podcasting, Aiden is an avid New York sports fan, and he loves playing sports, spending time outdoors and trying new foods. You can reach him at [email protected].
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