The Vanderbilt Men’s Golf Team finished second at the Nike Collegiate Invitational held at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. The tournament was held September 30-October 2, and it is the penultimate tournament for the Fall season.
Over three days, the ‘Dores shot a team score of 844, or +4 to par. They were led by Mason Greenberg with an opening round of 66. It was a bogey free round with three birdies on the front nine and one on the back.
In the final round, Patrick Martin shot 67 carding five birdies on the day, but also had two bogeys.
The scoring average for the team’s remaining 13 rounds was 71.8. The Commodores slipped during the second round where no one scored better than a 71. However, on the shoulders of Martin, the team jumped three spots to finish second by two shots.
The NCAA golf season is split into two seasons, Fall and Spring. The Fall season is a continuation of Summer singles play, whereas the Spring is championship season.
The ‘Dores had a distinguished Summer season where four qualified for the US Amateur, with three making the round of 32 and Will Gordon advancing to the Quarterfinals. Additionally, John Augenstein won the Players Amateur and was named the Southern Golf Association’s Amateur Golfer of the month for July. He finished top ten in 7 of 8 tournaments during the summer, going back to NCAA individual stroke play and rose to the a World Amateur Golf Ranking of 22.
Managing two seasons may sound difficult, but head coach Scott Limbaugh says each season has distinct goals and purposes.
“ In the Fall you are trying to see what the team can become, who is going to step up. It is also the back end of a very long golf season for our guys as they are coming in from a summer schedule so managing them physically is important. The spring is fun to start fresh, energized, and knowing the championship season is right around the corner so there is a new sense of urgency.”
When scores are up and down, I asked Coach Limbaugh if he or his players target a score to shoot for. He responded, “[We] never think about certain scores for the team or individuals. Before the event, I will ask some of the guys what they think may win individually just so I can get a feel for how scoring will be. However, I am not a scoreboard watcher because in my opinion it just creates limitations. Our goal is to be the best we can be each day out.”
As the season moves on and it becomes apparent a player is struggling with a part of their game, the desire to fix it can be tempting. “We are always focused on short game in season—wedging, chipping, and putting. If there are more full swing things that need to be done we will focus more on that during the winter months/ off season.”
The Commodores will finish their Fall season on October 23 in Windermere, FL, at the Tavistock College Invitational held at Isleworth Golf Club. It is a three day tournament starting on the 21st. They will compete against conference foes like Florida, South Carolina, Auburn, and LSU. As well, they will put the peg in the ground against perennial powers like Texas, Arizona State, Illinois, and host UCF.