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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.

Men’s Golf: Vanderbilt wins Watersound Invitational for second-straight season

Gordon Sargent and Cole Sherwood led the Commodores to victory in their first event of the spring season.
Gordon+Sargent+hitting+driver+at+the+Watersound+Invitational%2C+as+photographed+on+Feb.+19%2C+2024.+%28Vanderbilt+Athletics%29
Vanderbilt Athletics
Gordon Sargent hitting driver at the Watersound Invitational, as photographed on Feb. 19, 2024. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

The No. 3 Vanderbilt Men’s Golf team began its spring season at the Watersound Invitational in Panama City Beach, Fla. from Feb. 19-21. The Commodores were able to emerge victorious in a star-studded field with a total team score of -29 after three rounds. Vanderbilt was led by Gordon Sargent and Cole Sherwood who finished in second and fifth place, respectively. It was a dominant display of golf over all three days as five of Vanderbilt’s six players placed in the top 15 to lead the Commodores to a comfortable nine-stroke victory over second place finishers Florida State and Georgia Tech. 

Matthew Riedel, Jackson Van Paris, William Moll, Sargent and Sherwood started for the Commodores while Wells Williams competed as an individual. 

On Day One, the Commodores finished the round in first place after strong performances from Sargent and Van Paris. 

Sargent led Vanderbilt with a 4-under 68 to vault himself only two shots shy of the leader. The future PGA TOUR player had five birdies and one bogey to pace the Commodores in round one. 

Van Paris was in fifth place after round one, thanks to shooting a 3-under 69. Three birdies on his front nine allowed him to surge up the individual leaderboard. Similarly, a 2-under 70 from Riedel and a 1-under 71 from Moll allowed the Commodores to charge ahead as a team in round one. 

“Always fun to get the season started,” head coach Scott Limbaugh said after round one. “I was certainly proud of how we came out ready to play and also excited in the way we finished. Today was a great start and really a total team effort.”

On Day Two, the pressure was on Vanderbilt to maintain its lead. Sherwood put together the round of the day, firing a 6-under 66 to shoot up the individual leaderboard. Capped off by an eagle on the par-5 6th hole and six total birdies, Sherwood captured the second-lowest round of the tournament for the entire field. After shooting a 74 in round one, the senior bounced back in the second round to finish the day in a tie for ninth. 

Sargent and Van Paris continued their dominance from round one into round two. Sargent put together a round of 70 while Van Paris finished with another 69. These consecutive rounds in red figures pushed both of them into a tie for second, only behind world amateur No. 1 Christo Lamprecht.  

Riedel shot 73 in round two while Moll struggled to find birdies and fired a 77.

“I don’t think we have had our best stuff from a physical perspective, but the guys have hung in there and found ways to shoot good scores, which should give them a lot of confidence,” Limbaugh said after round two. “Tomorrow will require toughness, patience and focus on what it takes to execute each shot.”

On Day Three, the Commodores lifted the trophy and defended their team title. 

Vanderbilt was led by Sargent, Riedel and Sherwood who all posted rounds of 69. Sargent was fighting for the individual title down the stretch, but ended up missing a birdie putt on the last hole to finish in a tie for second. Nevertheless, it marked Sargent’s third top-five finish this season.

Riedel was able to make an unbelievable five birdies on his back nine to place himself in a tie for 15th. Similarly, Sherwood’s strong final round vaulted him into a tie for fifth. 

“Gordon [Sargent] locked in after a tough start. He’s really doing a great job just playing the next shot, which is not easy to do,” Limbaugh said. “Cole [Sherwood] had a great turnaround this week and gave our team a huge lift the last two rounds.” 

Van Paris was able to put together a round of 72 in round three to finish the tournament in a tie for seventh. After a strong fall season, Van Paris added another solid top-10 finish to begin the spring season. 

Moll finished in a tie for 45th after a final round 72. Williams also played well as an individual, finishing in a tie for 12th after rounds of 69, 71 and 71 over the three days. 

It was a total team effort that propelled Vanderbilt to victory.

“What a great way to start the spring season,” Limbaugh said. “I am very proud of how our guys battled and finished. College golf is all about how you embrace improvement from one week to the next and that will be our focus as we begin prep for Cabo.”

Vanderbilt will send a few players to the Wolfpack Individual in Raleigh, N.C. from Feb. 24-25, but the team will return to action at the Cabo Collegiate from Mar. 3-5.

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About the Contributor
Henry Oelhafen
Henry Oelhafen, Deputy Sports 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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