SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Gordon Sargent delivered his best round of the NCAA Championships on Monday, but the Vanderbilt men’s golf program was not one of the eight teams to advance to match play at the tournament.
“Obviously we’re all hurting right now, we wanted more,” head coach Scott Limbaugh said. “We wanted to play all week, that’s what we came here to do. I’m certainly proud of a lot of things. Hole 18 was definitely a difference maker for us today, we had a lot of momentum and just hit some uncharacteristic shots there.”
Sargent carded a 1-under-par 69 on the final day of stroke play at the par-70, 7,289-yard Grayhawk Golf Club, highlighted by six birdies. That included four on his first seven holes, as he and the Commodores—who entered the round tied for eighth place—stood at 2-under par for the round heading to the 520-yard 18th.
It was there that Vandy had one par, a bogey, two double bogeys and a quadruple bogey. The Dores would combine for nine more bogeys before posting seven birdies on the final five holes, ending up with a 288 total for the day and a score of 1,141 overall to tie for 11th place.
Cole Sherwood, William Moll and Matthew Riedel each shot a 73 over the final 18 holes, while Reid Davenport recorded a score of 74. Sherwood led Vandy overall, tying for 29th place in the individual standings with a 72-hole 284 total, with Sargent and Moll placing among the top 50 two and three shots behind Sherwood, respectively.
“When you look at postseason golf your big guns have to fire, said Limbaugh. “We’ve got five really good players who did big things for us all year long. Unfortunately, we were just a little bit off this week and that’s just how it is. It’s nobody’s fault, it’s called sports. I also think we didn’t do a great enough job adjusting, I felt like the course played a little different this year. That’s certainly partly my fault.”
North Carolina shot a final-round 7-under-par 273 to earn the top seed in match play with a 6-under-par 1,114 score. Florida’s Fred Biondi used a 3-under-par 67 on Monday to post a total of 7-under-par 273 and edge out Jackson Buchanan of Illinois and Georgia Tech’s Ross Steelman by one stroke to be crowned the NCAA individual champion.
The Commodores concluded the 2022-23 season with not just their ninth consecutive NCAA Championships appearance, but six tournament titles—highlight by four of those coming in the spring—along with second-place finishes at both the SEC Championships and NCAA Auburn Regional.
“I’m thankful for the people we had show up, I appreciate Reid Davenport and his family. I appreciate Gator Todd and what he gave us for six years in helping us continue to climb the mountain,” Limbaugh said. “That’s really where my mind is. Endings are hard. We just have to keep trying to get better, support our kids, love on them and care for them. When you remove the emotion from it and look back, these boys fight and represent what we want to represent.
“We just weren’t good enough this week. When you play sports and compete and put it all out there and don’t get what you want, that disappointment hurts and it’s going to hurt for a while. I’m responsible for this, we’re all responsible for it because it’s our program, but we have to keep growing forward and getting better.”