Davenport, Vandy Take Out Tennessee

Commodores will play for another SEC championship Saturday

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — Reid Davenport’s short made putt on a 19th hole Saturday gave the Commodores a 3-2 win over rival Tennessee and put Vanderbilt in the SEC Championships final for the third season in a row.

Tied with Josh Hill after 18 holes, Davenport gave Vandy its third win with Cole Sherwood and Gordon Sargent having already secured their respective matches. William Moll had also teed off behind Davenport, but the fifth-year senior’s putt left Moll’s matchup moot as Davenport and his teammates celebrated the victory up ahead on the green.

Vandy now faces Florida at 7 a.m. CT Sunday live on SEC Network in a rematch of the 2022 final.

“After losing 17 there, Reid showed tremendous resiliency and character to fight and make that putt on 18 and then bury that last putt to push us to the finals,” Vandy head coach Scott Limbaugh said. 

Vanderbilt fell behind early in Saturday afternoon’s semifinal when Matthew Riedel was beaten 4 and 3 by Jake Hall. Sherwood evened the match with a 1-up victory over Bryce Lewis.

Sargent put away Laurent Desmarchais with a 4 and 2 win.

That left Davenport and Moll, the latter of whom lost his lead when Caleb Surratt—the SEC stroke play champion—made a putt to force a 19th hole. Moll and Surratt wouldn’t need to finish the match as Davenport took care of business.

Tennessee was the No. 1 seed in the eight-team match play portion of the event.

“We came into this week talking about this being our opportunity. It’s not somebody else’s. It’s ours. You got to have that mentality. I believe that’s what great competitors do,” Limbaugh said. “It’s going to take another great effort Sunday against a great team, one that we’re familiar with. We just need to go play Vandy golf and need to be play with a lot of grit, a lot of character and a lot of fight. Will certainly be excited to have a lot of our fans here wearing black and gold.”

Dores Top Alabama

Vanderbilt survived a hard-fought match against Alabama and won 4-1 in the quarterfinals of the SEC Championships earlier Saturday to advance to the semifinals.

Vandy got a 5 and 4 win from Moll to take an early lead. But the other four matchups came down to hole No. 9, the 18th hole in the round.

Sherwood fell in his match when Nick Dunlap won 1-up. Riedel got that point back for Vandy with a 1-up win after JP Cave missed a short putt that would have sent that duo to an extra hole.

Davenport was next to come up the ninth green and his 1-up lead held when he rolled a long putt from the fringe within inches of the hole. Thomas Ponder missed a birdie putt giving Davenport—and Vanderbilt—the victory.

Sargent was leading Canon Claycomb 1-up at the time.

“Just an incredible day to beat two programs and coaches that I respect a lot,” Limbaugh said. “Super excited to see our guys answer the call. You just know going into those matches it’s going to be tight. Just got to hang in there and fight the fight.”