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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.

Vanderbilt Men’s Golf wins big in Scotland

Riding the momentum from the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invitational, Vanderbilt swept the competition at the world-renowned St. Andrews in Scotland.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Vanderbilt Men’s Golf wins the St. Andrews Invitational on Oct. 25, 2023 (Vanderbilt Athletics).

Beginning on Oct. 23, Vanderbilt Men’s Golf competed in the inaugural St. Andrews Links Collegiate Championship. This prestigious tournament featured four universities: Vanderbilt, UNC Chapel Hill, Georgetown and Notre Dame. For the first two days, six players on each team played the Jubilee Course. After Day Two, an individual champion would be crowned and the top two teams would square off in a medal match at the iconic Old Course. UNC and Vanderbilt were the favorites heading into the tournament, ranking first and fourth in the nation respectively. 

Vanderbilt entered the week red-hot, coming off of a win at the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invitational, but would need its best to outduel the top-ranked Tar Heels. Gordon Sargent, the top-ranked amateur in the world, was competing at an event in the United Arab Emirates and did not travel to St. Andrews. Without their leader, the Commodores traveled to Scotland with Cole Sherwood, Matthew Riedel, William Moll, Jackson Van Paris, Wells Williams and Ben Loomis. 

Day One

Vanderbilt and UNC started strong, each carding an opening day 7 under. Van Paris tore up the Jubilee course with a tournament-low 64. Van Paris notched seven birdies in his first round to gain a two-shot advantage in the individual competition. Sherwood, Vanderbilt’s one seed, scorched the front nine with five birdies. But a 3-over back nine left Sherwood tied for sixth after Day One. 

Like Sherwood, Riedel found early success, making the turn at 2 under. Riedel found trouble on 17 and 18 that brought him back to even-par for the round. Moll also carded an opening round 70 featuring three birdies. 

Loomis, unlike his fellow Commodores, found himself behind the eight ball early. An early bogey and double bogey pushed Loomis to 3 over. A late-round rally, though, salvaged Loomis’s round. He finished with a 1-over 71, a score that would count for Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt would need an impressive Day Two to separate from a closely packed leaderboard, and they did just that.

Day Two

On Day two, with a round at the Old Course on the line, Vanderbilt surged ahead as Sherwood and Williams each shot 66, but a greater effort was needed to defeat the Tar Heels. Riedel and Moll each grabbed six birdies in Round Two, resulting in shooting 68 and 67, respectively. After sleeping on the lead, Van Paris came out swinging, carding four birdies in the opening nine and an overall round of 67. Not only did this effort send Vanderbilt to the medal match, but Van Paris claimed his first collegiate individual title, a breakthrough win at a legendary venue. Although collegiate victories had been hard to find for Van Paris, he is no stranger to success. Since age 14, Van Paris has been nationally known as a top amateur, and joining the winner’s circle this week will put his name back on the map. 

Day Three

After two days at the Jubilee Course, UNC and Vanderbilt headed to the Old Course for the medal match, a one-on-one stroke play competition, scored similarly to match play. In six matches, Vanderbilt needed at least three and a half points to claim the trophy. Kicking things off for the Commodores, Loomis tightly held on to a one-shot victory over UNC’s Hampton Roberts. With a 1-0 lead over UNC, Van Paris was looking to further the Vanderbilt advantage. Perhaps his individual victory stole his focus, as he found himself down five shots through 11 holes. 

Fortunately, the titleist came clawing back and ultimately halved the match. The Vanderbilt lead remained one point with four remaining Commodores hoping to put UNC away. Sherwood and Moll cruised to two more points for Vanderbilt each shooting 69, and Williams sent the Tar Heels packing. On the fabled 18th at the Old Course, Williams drained a birdie to best Austin Greaser of UNC by one shot, claiming the requisite point guarding the trophy.

With a 4.5 to 1.5 victory, Vanderbilt left the St. Andrews Collegiate Championship having swept the individual and team title. Undoubtedly, this outing will leave a good taste in the Commodores’ mouths for the next few months until they tee it up against the Florida State Seminoles in Panama City Beach, Fla. on Feb. 18, 2024.

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About the Contributor
Zach Philip
Zach Philip, Staff Writer
Zach Philip (‘26) is majoring in computer science and economics in the College of Arts and Science. Outside of school, he enjoys watching golf and football (go Jaguars!). He can be reached at [email protected].
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