VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. — Senior Matthew Riedel won his first collegiate individual championship and Vanderbilt finished first Monday at the conclusion of stroke play at SEC Match Play presented by Jerry Pate.
The Commodores will face Tennessee starting at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday in a match play round to determine the event’s champion.
Riedel (-13) finished with a 66 thanks to three birdies on the back nine. He edged out three players by one stroke, including teammate Gordon Sargent (-12) who tied for second.
“Matthew played really well today and I just couldn’t be prouder of him,” Vandy head coach Scott Limbaugh. “Going bogey-free out there today was really great golf. He’s done an outstanding job at home which I believe has helped prepare him to be ready for today. His moment came and he took it which says a lot about his competitive character.”
Riedel actually trailed Sargent on the leaderboard after Sargent carded an eagle on 15. But a double bogey by Sargent gave Riedel the outright lead and the eventual victory.
“Gordon was outstanding today and all week and continues to show why he’s one of the best players in the country,” Limbaugh said. “I’m sure he would have liked to finish a little better, but these moments make us stronger and he was so happy for Matthew which I believe says a lot about the kind of teammate he is.
“Cole showed a-lot of consistency this week and did a great job battling all week.”
By virtue of its first-place standing, Vanderbilt and Tennessee will face off in a five-on-five match play round for the right to be called SEC Match Play champions. The Volunteers (-35) had the best round of the day of any team at 12-under-par and edged Auburn (-33) to get into second place.
“Obviously, it was a tough battle out there today,” Limbaugh said. “When you are playing against really good teams, you have to be ready to step up and lock in. I would say our guys have kind of created a target on their backs so we going to get everyone’s best shot which I believe is what you should want as a competitor.
“I am super proud of how we responded today. It certainly wasn’t our best, but the guys hung in there and battled with what they had. Days like today make you better when it matters the most.”
The remaining 12 teams in the field will also play Tuesday to determine the final standings of the event. Live scoring for Tuesday’s championship match can be found HERE.
“Tuesday is another great opportunity for our guys,” Limbaugh added. “Match play is a lot of fun and we need to reset after today’s finish and be ready to go from the start. Thanks to all our fans that have shown up this week and we hope you can be here Tuesday. I know it means a lot to the guys.”