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Men’s Golf Advances to NCAA Finals

Third Place Finish in Athens Sends the Dores to Finals in Fayetteville

2017 East Lake Cup - Day 3 Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Men’s Golf Team finished third in the Athens Regional this week and punched their ticket to the NCAA Finals in Fayetteville. The ‘Dores posted a +1, 853, one shot behind second place team Duke, and nine shots behind the host and winning team, Georgia Bulldawgs.

Vanderbilt had three of the top five golfers going into the field, and they needed all three to go low if they wanted to win the region. Will Gordon fired three rounds under par for a blistering -6, 207. It was the second best score in the region behind UGA’s David Thompson, who shot 205.

John Augenstein went 70-69-74 for a level par 213. However, the No. 3 seed, Patrick Martin had his worst tournament in a while shooting a team worst +10, 223.

The Commodores played the par-4’s and par-5’s at +11 and -10, good for second and third in the field. However, they struggled in par-3’s playing them at +13 for fifth in the field. Will Gordon led the field in scoring on par-4’s at -4 and Harrison Ott played the par-5’s at -5 for T-2 in the field. Pretty, pretty good.

UGA benefitted from hosting the tournament. Their top three players finished 1, 3, T10, along with T46 and 50 finishes from their No. 4 & 5.

In every sport, schools act as hosts throughout the NCAA tournaments, but in golf it is particularly advantageous. UGA won the tournament by seven shots over Duke, who finished as the only other team below par.

It’s possible UGA is that much better than Duke and VU, but in a season where the sample size is large, the statistic pointed to three teams with adjusted scoring averages within .15 of each other, yet the Dawgs won convincingly. Local knowledge is a thing in golf to the point where it’s actual sport jargon, so it stands to reason that UGA would have a distinct advantage over the field.

It’s not an excuse. It’s a reason and a reality. Just ask Duke who lost to OkSt last year by eight shots in, wait for it... Stillwater. It’s impossible to have totally neutral sites because the courses available and able to host large tournaments is a small pool, but that kind of advantage is unprecedented in any other sport.

C’est la vie.

In other news, congrats to all the qualifying teams! You get a summer vacation to sunny, beautiful Fayetteville? (/sad trombone). The NCAA Finals are held May 24-29.