Welcome to the Quiet Storm, your weekly does of Vanderbilt Golf coverage of only the prime cuts that makes all the ladies and gents bounce to the smooth beats of birdies and pars.
These week, the Vanderbilt Men’s team is off to Atlanta for the East Lake Cup. You may recognize East Lake as the home of the PGATOUR’s final tournament. It was called the FEDEX Cup and the TOUR Championship, and now it’s... yeah, I don’t know.
For the Cup, four men’s and four women’s teams are invited to play in a three day stroke and match play contest. This year, the men’s teams are No. 26 Texas, No. 44 OkSt, No. 2 Wake Forest, and No. 20 Vanderbilt. (I am colorblind, but it’s easy to see that having black and gold as your colors favors a better rank, and having a shade of orange means a worse rank).
More match play, not less match play, that’s our motto. It’s great. Players going head to head inside of a team competition creates tension across each match on the course. It changes to the way a player will play a hole and brings in gamesmanship that may not be utilized in a stroke play competition.
You can watch it ALL on Golf Channel. It runs 3:00PM-6:00PM Monday-Wednesday.
This is Vanderbilt’s third appearance at the East Lake Cup. They were Champions in 2017.
All four teams are considered golfing elite in the NCAA. Obviously Texas and OkSt are modern elite programs while Wake Forest has a storied history as the premier program in the country. Vanderbilt has been knocking on the door since Scott Limbaugh arrived. However, they haven’t quite broken through with an NCAA Championship, but have produced the last two SEC Players of the Year and more All Americans than you can shake a stick at.
For Vanderbilt, this tournament represents a chance for it’s stud, John Augenstein, to show off as the best golfer in the country, while giving Harrison Ott and Reid Davenport important reps in a high pressure environment. Additionally, it gives Michael Sheers (Sophomore) and William Moll (Freshman) great experience against the teams they will face in the NCAA Regionals and Finals.
East Lake Golf Club is the oldest course in Atlanta. It was built in 1904. In 1913, it was totally redesigned by Donald Ross. In 1994, the Rees Jones restored the course (that’s kind of like having Larry Ford restore a vintage Ferrari).
It is a par-72, 6,800 yard course. It’s shorter yardage should make the course gettable for most of the players, but there will be a handful of challenges. The 15th hold is a 213 yard par-3 with an island green (it is the first island green designed in the US, so suck it TPC Sawgrass!).
The back nine sees two 500+ yard par-5’s. The second is the 18th, and probably most famous now for the mob of people who swarmed the fairway as Tiger was marching up to claim his first tournament win since returning from spinal fusion surgery.
For the Dores to win, they will need to take score well on the par-5’s and make sure they don’t let rest of the course sneak up on them. Meaning, strokes can pile up quickly on the par-4’s. It has a rating of 76.2 and a slope of 144. While they have been successful getting into the red on individual holes, the Dores have struggled consistently taking advantage of scoring holes.
This could be a great showing for the team and nice boost of confidence before the Spring Season begins.