ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — John DuBois made a long putt from the fringe of the 18th green before Reid Davenport’s putt to extend the match roll wide, giving Florida a 3-1-1 victory and the 2023 SEC championship.
With the Gators up 2-1, and with another matchup tied, Davenport needed to make a tough putt on 18 to force an extra hole. But the fifth-year senior saw his ball just miss the hole allowing the Gators to celebrate the team championship.
“These matches are tough to win and you have to be willing to put it all out there and sometimes you still may not get it,” Vandy head coach Scott Limbaugh said. “I thought our guys put it all out there this week and Florida made a few more plays and you gotta give them credit. I am super proud of the fight we showed and the character our guys played with.”
Vanderbilt was looking for its third straight SEC title and would have needed a memorable comeback to make it happen.
The Commodores trailed 2-0 after Matthew Kress defeated Matthew Riedel 5 and 4 and after Ricky Castillo defeated Cole Sherwood 5 and 4. William Moll put Vandy on the board with a 5 and 3 triumph over Yuxin Lin and that set up some late drama.
DuBois trailed Davenport for much of the match before coming back to tie the score. Gordon Sargent and Fred Biondi were also tied after 17 holes and they watched DuBois’ title-clinching putt from the 18th fairway.
“William is playing at a very high level and certainly plays with a lot of spirit in these matches. Gordon was 3-down through 10 holes and had a 1-up lead through 17. Finally, Reid has made a lot of those putts in the past for us to win and we know we like him in those moments,” Limbaugh said. “When things are hard it makes you better and it was hard out there today. They got the momentum early on and it felt like we were playing from behind. We work to built this program on never giving in and always finding a way and we will continue to do that and grow and move forward.”
Vanderbilt now awaits its NCAA Regional fate. The NCAA Division I Selection Show is scheduled for 1 p.m. May 3 on the GOLF Channel and play is scheduled to begin May 15-17 at one of six different regional sites.
The top five teams (30 teams total) and the low individual not on an advancing team (six individuals total) from each regional site will advance to play in the NCAA Championships on May 26-31 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“The guys will get some time off and then we will begin preparation for the NCAA Tournament,” Limbaugh said. “We have some work to do before it begins and we have to embrace getting better. There are certainly some things we have to improve upon over the next few weeks. How the team moves forward from today will say a lot about this team’s leadership.
“I am especially proud of all our fans that showed up today and I know it meant a lot to our guys. We also really appreciate Candice Lee being there to support us all weekend. We are looking forward to the challenges ahead and helping our guys get better and embrace growth.”