Men’s Golf: Vanderbilt wins regional, qualifies for NCAA Championship

The 13th-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores won the Kingston Springs NCAA regional at the Golf Club of Tennessee to advance to the National Championship in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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The Vanderbilt Commodores won the program’s first ever NCAA Regional competition in dominant fashion. (Twitter/@VandyMGolf).

Francis Sheehy, Staff Writer

This week, the No. 13 Vanderbilt Commodores won their NCAA regional tournament at the Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) champions topped a 13-team field that included several ranked teams, including the No. 3 Clemson Tigers and the No. 10 North Carolina State Wolfpack. Vanderbilt needed only a top-five finish to advance to the NCAA Championship, but finished first as the host school.

“For them to come out and steal the show in front of so many Vanderbilt fans and friends and supporters, I’m just super excited that our kids got to enjoy that,” SEC Coach of the Year Scott Limbaugh said of the tournament atmosphere. 

In the first round on Monday, the Commodores were led by junior Reid Davenport who shot a bogey-free 65. He was joined by sophomore William Moll’s three-under 69 and sophomore Matthew Riedel, whose 73 was saved by two eagles. Vanderbilt finished the opening round at 5-under in a tie for third place. 

“I thought [Davenport] was extremely locked in this week. And when he gets that way, he’s as good as anybody in the country,” Limbaugh said of the junior. “I’m just really excited about the way his focus and attention to detail has been wrapped up during the championship season.”

Tuesday saw the Commodores move up to clear second place after a 280 aggregate second round. Freshman Cole Sherwood led the team with a 67 that included five birdies, moving into 14th place on the individual leaderboard. Under-par scores by Moll and Riedel helped the Commodores to second place with Davenport tied for first individually.

In the final round, Vanderbilt surged while the rest of the field struggled, leading themselves to a first-place finish. Moll’s final round 67 secured him third place at 9-under, with Davenport taking a tie for fourth at 8-under. All five Commodores finished in the top 30, with Riedel and Sherwood both tied for 13th at 5-under. Junior Michael Shears’ consistent performances secured him a tie for 28th at 1-under. 

Limbaugh noted that improving the team’s performance on par-fives and avoiding scores worse than bogey were keys to the Commodores’ success this week.

“We led par-five scoring of all the teams there by a long shot and we only made three scores worse than bogey all week,” Limbaugh said. 

Overall, the Commodores were 18-under, a full 11 shots ahead of the second-place Arkansas Razorbacks. Vanderbilt has won the SEC Championship and the regional consecutively, and is in good position heading into the NCAA Championship beginning May 28. Along with the Commodores, Arkansas, San Diego State, NC State and Clemson qualified for the NCAA Championship from the  Kingston Springs regional.