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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 conquers NCAA Regional, punches ticket to Championships

The Commodores are headed to the NCAA Championships for a 10th consecutive season.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Vanderbilt Men’s Golf poses with its NCAA Regional trophy and ticket, as photographed on May 15, 2024. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

From May 13-15, No. 2 Vanderbilt Men’s Golf competed at the West Lafayette NCAA Regional. The Commodores, seeded No. 1 in their region, conquered the rest of the field, shooting a collective 24-under 840 to race past the rest of the competition. This victory marks the program’s third NCAA Regional title of all time, and the seventh team victory this season. All of Vanderbilt’s players secured top-15 finishes, and William Moll won the individual title. 

The top five teams at each of the six regionals advanced to the NCAA Championships, which will be played at the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa Champions Course in Carlsbad, Calif. 

Gordon Sargent, Cole Sherwood, Matthew Riedel, Jackson Van Paris and Moll earned the start for the Commodores at the par-72 Kampen Course. 

On Day One, the Commodores came out of the gates firing. Vanderbilt shot an 11-under 277 to jump out to an early lead. It was a total team effort, as four of the team’s five players shot under par.

Sargent paced the Commodores, shooting a 5-under 67 to sit in a tie for second individually after 18 holes. He had a bogey-free back nine, in which he made three birdies, to jump up the leaderboard.

Sherwood shot a 3-under 69 with six birdies, while Moll finished with a 70 to sit inside the top 10 after round one. Van Paris shot a 71, and Riedel fired a 73. 

“We got out to a great start,” head coach Scott Limbaugh said after Day One. “This is the NCAA Regionals, and you need to put your best foot forward. It’s so important for the guys to trust their training, and I feel like we’ve trained well. It’s all about trusting yourself and your teammates at this point and staying patient out there. I thought we did a really good job at that today.”

On Day Two, Vanderbilt kept its foot on the gas pedal. The Commodores remained in first place following a 5-under 283 in round two to sit one stroke ahead of second-place Purdue. 

This time, Moll set the pace for Vanderbilt, shooting a 3-under 69 to move into a tie for second place individually. Tied with him was Sargent who finished Day Two after firing an even-par round. An unfortunate triple bogey on Sargent’s back nine prevented him from pushing into red figures for the second straight day. 

“I’m in a good spot [heading into round three],” Moll said. “Hopefully [I can] just get rid of those bogeys and make a few more putts tomorrow.”

Riedel and Sherwood both fired a 71 to stay inside the top 10 heading into the final round. Riedel seemed poised to go low after an impressive 3-under 33 on the front nine, but a double bogey on the 18th hole was a major blow to his scorecard. 

“It was good again to have all five of our guys in contention all day, and it was good to see some of them bounce back,” Limbaugh said. “We had a little more adversity today in more scoreable conditions with less wind, but it was really good to see the team respond well to that adversity. We didn’t quite finish to our standards. We know we’ve got to own the things that we can own, have an aggressive mindset and keep moving forward.” 

On Day Three, the Commodores emerged victorious and punched their ticket to the NCAA Championships. It was a stellar day for Vanderbilt, as all five of its players shot even-par or better. An 8-under 280 on the final day was enough to beat second-place Purdue by 13 strokes. 

Moll captured the individual title, carding a 2-under 70 in round three. Three birdies and a sole bogey brought some individual hardware back to Nashville. This win marked his second collegiate victory and first of this season.

“I was really consistent, and it kind of compares to how I’ve played for most of the spring,” Moll said after the tournament. “Being able to keep the ball in front of me and rolling a couple of putts was awesome. The team played amazing. We didn’t have a great second round, but we bounced back and really did well today. It’s great to end Regionals this way.”

Sargent fired a 71 to finish in a tie for second overall. It was the junior’s sixth top-10 finish this season. Riedel shot a 69 to sit in a tie for 10th place, and Sherwood finished in a tie for eighth. 

“I’m proud of those guys,” Limbaugh said. “We wanted to be a team in pursuit and not protective. Doing hard things together makes you better. That’s what our team did all week and today especially. It’s a tough golf course with a lot of challenging shots, but I wanted us to come out today and appreciate who we are, fight and send a statement. I think our team was able to do that.”

Vanderbilt now turns its attention to the NCAA Championships, which start on May 24. The Commodores hold a No. 2 national ranking and have one of the most veteran rosters of the 30 teams competing. After Vanderbilt failed to make the match-play portion of the NCAA Championships in 2023, it seems poised to make a deeper run this year.

Vanderbilt tees off at the NCAA Championships on May 24 at the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa Champions Course in Carlsbad, Calif. 

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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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