The Oklahoma State Men’s Golf Team is a historically great team. It has the reigning NCAA Individual Champ, the US Amateur Champion, the two time Canadian Amateur Champion, and their No. 4 player qualified for the US Open. They were the only team to play the Blessings Course under par for the stroke play portion of the tournament winning by 31 strokes. They were also the only team to have four or more players inside the Top30... except Vanderbilt.
This isn’t Cowboys Ride for Free, so let’s talk about the Commodores. It was important to put into perspective what the Pokes did because what Vandy did would have been equally as impressive in a world where super teams didn’t exist.
After starting the tournament at +19, Vandy played the next three rounds at level par or better, E, -1, -3. No other team did that. Only Oklahoma came close with their second and third rounds at -1 and E before imploding on the last day with +12. (full leaderboard here)
The Commodores finished at +15, five shots better than third place Wake Forest.
For the fourth time in five years, the Commodores are heading to match play!#NCAAGolf | #AnchorDown pic.twitter.com/4ZxZspQ88C— Vanderbilt Men's Golf (@VandyMGolf) May 27, 2019
The first round was reminiscent of Mike Tyson’s quote, “everybody has a plan before they get punched in the mouth.” No team played under par. The great OkSt played it +2. The scoring average was 77.03. That means the team scoring average was +20. Vandy barely gained strokes on the field in their first round. Then...
Then the Dores beat the doors off the course. In the second round they scored 12 shots better than the field, 15 in the third round, +15 in the final round. While the rest of the teams were moon walking to the clubhouse the Commodores were punching back at Blessings (if you want to read my breakdown of the course for the Women’s Championships, click here).
Individually, the team played with an uncanny amount of similarity. Gordo, Auggie, and PMart all finished T-19 at +5. Harrison Ott placed T-30 +9. Martin played the par-3’s at -2, leading the Commodores to second in scoring on the shortest holes on the course. Auggie was 5th in par-4 scoring (Vandy was 4th), and Gordo was third in par-5 scoring (Vandy was 4th).
Par-5’s are wear the OkSt separated themselves from the field. They played those holes at -28, whereas Wake, SMU, and Vandy played them at -23, -14, and -12.
Vandy played the par-4’s at +47. OkSt played it at +30, which is absurd considering they finished at -16. But, the next closest team, Liberty, was 13 strokes behind. That’s where the Pokes won the tournament.
Besides the Pokes, Vandy lead the field in birdies with 67. Will Gordon led the team with 17.
I’m geeking out a bit with the numbers and the stats because this course was just brutal. In a post round interview, the SMU coach said he felt bad for his team because they actually had to play the course (they ended up winning a playoff to go to match play).
The Commodores put together a gritty, impressive performance that was overshadowed by the Golden State Warriors of NCAA Golf.
Now, though, the scores don’t matter. You know when rivals play and announcers spout cliches about throwing out the record books? That’s kind of true in match play.
Vanderbilt is the No. 2 seed taking on Texas A&M (right now on Golf Channel, if you want to watch). The scores don’t matter. You have to beat your opponent on each hole. Doesn’t matter if it’s with an ace or with a seven. Just beat your opponent.