SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Vanderbilt did just enough during Monday’s final round of stroke play to advance into match play and the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships on the Raptor Course at the Grayhawk Golf Club.
Vanderbilt will face Oklahoma State at 8:20 a.m. CT Tuesday off the first tee. Should it win that matchup it will advance to the semifinals at 3:35 p.m. CT Tuesday.
The two semifinal winners will then play for the national championship starting at 3:35 p.m. CT Wednesday.
Live coverage of Tuesday’s play will begin at 11 a.m. CT on the Golf Channel.
“The way I look at it is, nobody outside our program and our Vandy family has given these boys much of a chance all spring,” Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh said after Monday’s round. “All they keep doing is answering the bell every time it goes off.
“I just think as a coach it just makes you dang proud.”
The Commodores yo-yoed on the leaderboard Monday with a pack of schools fighting to make the top eight out of the final 15. After a fourth round of stroke play was done Vandy was 24-over-par and wound up seventh after North Carolina faltered down the stretch and came in one stroke behind the Dores.
Vanderbilt was 11-over-par Monday during a round which proved difficult for much of the field. With temperatures once again reaching triple digits, a steady wind also made its presence known on the par 70, 7,289-yard course.
“Just to see our guys go out there today – I understand people take these kind of days for granted when you’re just flipping through scores. But it is dang hard out there today,” Limbaugh said. “Our guys, just one guy after another, we’re just staying the course, being steady, hanging out, hitting shots down the stretch, making putts down the stretch and we looked up and we’re going to have a tee time Tuesday.”
On the back side scores continued to trend in the wrong direction as Vanderbilt carded five bogeys in its first six holes. It would finish with 13 bogeys and just three birdies on the back nine. The battle of attrition still went in Vanderbilt’s favor in the end.
Moll, Davenport and Matthew Riedel all finished 2-over-par for the day while Michael Shears was 5-over-par and Cole Sherwood was 6-over-par. Sherwood (+7) tied for 34th, Riedel (+8) finished 38th, Shears and Davenport both tied for 39th overall at 9-over-par and Moll (+14) tied for 61st.
“We love our culture. The guys before them have fought to establish a culture,” Limbaugh said. “That will to compete and do your best is what it takes this time of year. You kind of got to have a I-won’t-be-denied kind of mentality. That’s what we had today. We weren’t perfect today. I didn’t think we’d be perfect. But we were good. Our guys they fight and they don’t give in and different guys are stepping up each day.”
Arizona State and North Carolina will square off in another quarterfinal Tuesday while Pepperdine will play Florida State and Oklahoma gets Illinois.
Arizona State (-3) was one of only two teams under par Monday and leap-frogged Oklahoma State for the team title in stroke play. Turk Pettit of Clemson finished 7-under-par through 72 holes to win the individual national championship.
All of those scores no longer matter, however, going into the match-play portion of college golf’s biggest stage.
“We’re going to play a great opponent. You just know to bring your best because that what it will take,” Limbaugh said. “We’re going to need those fans out here lifting our kids up Tuesday. I like where our kids are. We got to keep a chip on our shoulders. You got to come out here ready to compete and ready to play your best.”