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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’s season ends as it falls to Ohio State in quarterfinals of NCAA Championships

The Commodores ran out of momentum and fell 3-1-1 to the Buckeyes.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Matthew Riedel tees off at the NCAA Championships, as photographed on May 26, 2024. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

After placing second in the stroke play portion of the NCAA Championships and securing a No. 2 overall seed in match play, Vanderbilt fell to No. 7 seed Ohio State, 3-1-1, in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. The Commodores entered the match as favorites but failed to make key putts down the stretch to advance to the semifinals. 

“It’s tough right now. I hurt for our kids and I know how much they wanted it,” head coach Scott Limbaugh said after the round. “We didn’t make the plays necessary for this time of year. It’s a tough moment right now.”

The Commodores dug themselves into an early hole as the reigning U.S. Amateur finalist Neal Shipley took a commanding lead over Vanderbilt’s Matthew Riedel. Through 10 holes, the Texas native was 5-down and struggled to find any momentum. He eventually lost the match 4&2, putting Vanderbilt at an early disadvantage. 

Sherwood gave Vanderbilt its first point of the day as he won his match 3&2. He led for the entirety of the back nine, never giving up his lead and displaying consistent, measured golf during his round. Sherwood’s play was a big momentum boost and tied the overall match 1-1 with three Vanderbilt players left on the course.

Jackson Van Paris then fell to Ohio State’s Jackson Chandler, 3&2. The junior was only up in the match for one hole the entire day, forcing Vanderbilt into an early 2-1 deficit. 

With just two matches remaining on the course, Vanderbilt would need to win both to advance to the semifinals. All-American Gordon Sargent went down early, trailing for the entirety of his front nine. Crucial made putts on holes 12, 13 and 14 meant Sargent would go 2-up with only four holes remaining. Sargent proceeded to lose three straight holes from 16-18, allowing Ohio State’s Adam Wallin to tie the match on the 18th green and send the match to extras. 

At the same time, William Moll, only one hole behind Sargent, managed to make a miraculous comeback in his match, and was only 1-down heading into 18. His opponent four-putted on the last green, tying the match up after 18. 

With the Commodores’ fate hanging in the balance, Sargent and Wallin headed to the 16th hole, the first playoff hole, to determine the winner of their match. Wallin secured a par, leaving Sargent a five-foot putt to extend both his own and the overall match. Sargent missed the putt, and Vanderbilt officially lost the quarterfinal matchup, eliminating it from championship contention. 

Moll’s match was left unfinished as the Commodores fell 3-1-1.

On paper, Vanderbilt seemed destined to win this quarterfinal matchup. The Commodores had the higher World Amateur Golf ranking in all five matches. Ohio State is ranked No. 27 in the official college golf rankings compared to Vanderbilt, which is ranked No. 2. An inability to make timely putts in pressure moments—something that plagued the Commodores in past matches—prevented this Vanderbilt squad from reaching its expected potential. 

Now, Vanderbilt will turn to the offseason to prepare for the 2024-25 season. Three of Vanderbilt’s five starting players earned top-10 finishes in the PGA TOUR University rankings, securing them pro status starting next week. Riedel has earned fully exempt status, while Sherwood and Moll earned conditional status on the Korn Ferry Tour. 

“These are special men,” Limbaugh said of the three seniors. “They are special people that have made me better. Vanderbilt golf is a special thing and it’s because of these players and the families they come from. They still want to be coached and held accountable. They’ve left a legacy of excellence and I’m very grateful for having them.”

Van Paris will play in all of the major amateur events this summer, including the North and South, Sunnehanna Amateur and Northeast Amateur. He will also represent Team USA at the Palmer Cup from July 5-7 in Lahinch, Ireland alongside Sargent.   

Sargent, who earned status on the PGA TOUR in October, has decided to defer his PGA TOUR card and return for his senior season. He will compete in the U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club from June 13-16 and The Open Championship at Royal Troon from July 18-21. 

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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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