Sargent Looks to Master Biggest Challenge Yet

Vandy sophomore tees off Thursday at the Masters

by Chad Bishop

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Gordon Sargent has a game plan for the world’s biggest golf tournament, and tomorrow he’s going to show us what that is.

The Vanderbilt sophomore is scheduled to tee off at 11:48 a.m. CT Thursday in the first round of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. He’ll be playing with Jason Day and good friend Zach Johnson. And he’ll have the eyes of the Vanderbilt community glued to his every shot.

“I’m more nervous playing in front of this many people,” Sargent said about teeing off surrounded by a few familiar faces—and tens of thousands of other people. “But I figured playing with the big names in the beginning of the week would help ease the nerves for the tournament. That was kind of my plan. I feel like it’s going to work.”

Sargent’s mantra this week has been patience and pace. To help quell his nerves and the trepidation about playing in his first PGA Tour event, the 19-year-old has tried to do everything a tad slower this week: eating slower, talking slower, walking the course slower.

Along the way, Sargent has impressed the throngs of fans watching him during his first three days on the course. His long, majestic drives have been as awe-inspiring as his ability to remain cool in the heat of the moment.

Sargent has been in Augusta since Saturday. He spent Sunday at Augusta National playing a few holes and getting the lay of the land.

On Monday, he played nine holes with Justin Thomas and Max Homa. On Tuesday, he walked the front nine with Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka.

Sargent got in one final day of preparation Wednesday; he teed off just after 10 a.m. local time on No. 10 and played nine holes with Brian Harmon.

By the time Sargent reached the 16th hole, Vandy teammates Cole Sherwood, Jansen Preston, Jackson Van Paris and Ben Loomis had arrived to cheer on their fellow Commodore.

His Wednesday ended with taking a shot in the annual Par 3 Contest. Alongside Viktor Hovland and Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira (a fellow amateur and a senior at Arkansas), Sargent loosely played the eight-hole course with his 18-year-old brother, Thomas, serving as his caddy.

Sargent then headed out for some down time and to rest before what will be the biggest day of his golfing life so far. A lot of folks have taken notice of the kid already.

“We couldn’t be happier to have Gordon here this week,” Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred Ridley said. “He’s a fine young man and a heck of a player.”

— Chad Bishop covers Vanderbilt for
Follow him @MrChadBishop.