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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 reaches quarterfinals of NCAA Championships

Gordon Sargent led the Commodores, finishing in a tie for second in the stroke play portion of the Championships.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Gordon Sargent swings an iron, as photographed on May 28, 2024. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Vanderbilt Men’s Golf has advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships in Carlsbad, Calif., for the seventh time in program history. After four days of stroke play, the field of 30 has been cut down to the top eight teams, all of which will now compete for a team National Championship over the next two days in match play format. The Commodores finished in second place after four rounds of stroke play, securing the No. 2 seed in the championships. Vanderbilt will face No. 7 seed Ohio State in its quarterfinal matchup. 

Gordon Sargent, Cole Sherwood, Matthew Riedel, Jackson Van Paris and William Moll started for the Commodores at the par-72 Omni La Costa North Course. 

Vanderbilt had a strong four days of stroke play as four of its five players earned top-30 finishes. Sargent led the charge for Vanderbilt, shooting a 2-under 286 for the tournament to sit in a tie for second. Sargent was just inches away from forcing a playoff for his second individual national title as he missed a six-foot putt on the 18th hole and earned a runner-up finish. 

“I’m definitely still learning the golf course,” Sargent said after the fourth round. “I’ve had some really good moments and some moments that have not been so good. I feel like I’ve managed my game pretty well all week. I didn’t necessarily make many putts, which is tough. It’s hard to win when you don’t make putts.”

The Commodores had a slow start to the Championships, shooting a 9-over 297 in round one to sit in a tie for 12th place after 18 holes. All five of Vanderbilt’s players shot over par, but Van Paris shot a 1-over 73 to keep Vanderbilt within striking distance of the lead. With only eight teams advancing to match play, head coach Scott Limbaugh and Co. knew they would need to shoot lower to stand a chance of advancing. 

Vanderbilt vaulted up the leaderboard into third place in round two. The Commodores secured the day’s low round with a 2-under 286 led by Sargent, who carded a 3-under 69. Van Paris also found red figures in round two, shooting a 1-under 71 to push the Commodores well into contention. 

“It was a solid performance today, and I’m proud of the team,” Limbaugh said after round two. “We found some momentum late yesterday and used that to get off to a good start today. It’s the national championship. Energy is high, nerves are high, but you’ve got to focus on what you’ve got to do.”

With the 15-team cut looming after three rounds, Vanderbilt had to battle to ensure it wouldn’t be a team left out of the fourth round. The Commodores did just that, holding onto third place with a 2-over 290, behind only Virginia and Illinois. Sargent again had the low round for the team, shooting a 2-under 70 to put himself in a good position individually to win. 

“I’m really just hitting it well and hitting my spots. I didn’t necessarily make a lot of putts, but stress-free pars are always good out here,” Sargent said after round three. “It was another solid round that helped the team out a little bit, and I’ll keep that game plan for tomorrow.”

Sherwood and Van Paris shot 73 and 74, respectively, to sit in the top 30. 

In round four, Vanderbilt continued to impose its will and beat Virginia by one stroke to grab second-place and officially advance to the match play portion of the tournament. 

Sargent remained in pursuit of his second individual national title all day, making two birdies on his front nine. It was two bogeys on his back nine and several missed short putts that forced him to come up one shot short of Georgia Tech’s Hiroshi Tai after leading the tournament for several holes. 

“I thought he made that putt on the last,” Limbaugh said after round four. “I thought he played awesome this week. He lifted up our team, and we are super fortunate he is on our side.”

Riedel and Sherwood shot 71 and 72, respectively, to earn Vanderbilt the No. 2 seed heading into match play.

“Today was a good day for our team. They looked strong, they looked bold, they looked confident out there,” Limbaugh said. 

Now, Vanderbilt will play its quarterfinal match against Ohio State, starting at 9:40 am CDT on May 28, to determine which team will advance to the semifinal. If the Commodores win, they will face the winner of Auburn and Virginia.

Four of Vanderbilt’s five players have competed in the match play portion of the NCAA Championships before. Vanderbilt hopes to use this veteran leadership to win the school’s first team National Championship.

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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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