Welcome back to Golf After Dark. Slide on those putter covers and talk birdie to me.
Men’s Golf ventured down to North Central Florida to compete in the Florida Gators Invitational. They came back with a solo second place finish, falling short only to the host team by 18 strokes.
[Author’s Note: I hate UF and that city they call home is a dirty swamp town.]
That’s the kind of thing that can happen when you play an original Donald Ross. For those not in the know, Ross is the greatest American course architect. Some notables that he designed are Pinehurst No. 2, East Lake, and Seminole.
He enjoyed working Florida because of the sandy terrain and grassy rolling hills, which for Golden Age Architecture, was prime real estate. It drains well, has natural undulation limiting shaping, and it’s great for growing grass.
Mark Bostick Golf Course, is a par-70 and only measures out 6,700 yards. That’s not long for NCAA golf. Consider last years NCAA finals at The Blessings measure 7,500 yards. But that’s what makes this kind of course unique. It requires strategy off the tee to set up a shot that sets up a putt. Classic Ross.
So when the Gators win by 18 shots, it’s because they are the No. 24 team in the country, but it’s also because course knowledge matters on this type of design. For example, there were six teams bunched in the next 18 strokes, including three ranked in the top 35, and Vanderbilt who is ranked 20th. Once again, home course knowledge matters.
As for the team, what stands out is the play of the freshmen. Matthew Reidel 73-67-73. That 67 made him their number three scorer. It means that if he can become consistent, then Vanderbilt can really put together a deep run in the NCAA.
They have three very good-to-elite players in Harrison Ott, Reid Davenport, and John Augenstein. But they need a fourth. Reidel can be that man.
Also worth noting is William Moll. He progressively got better as the tournament went on. He shot 75-71-69. Moll is the other Freshman out of Houston. That kind of play, specifically rounds in the 60’s, gives the Dores depth it hasn’t had in the last three years. And those are years they went to the NCAA Finals and produced two SEC POYs.
FWIW, Augenstein struggled here. He shot 73-69-73. He made five birdies all week, and only one on the last day. That’s not normal for the US Am Runner Up.
Next up is Cabo! The Dores will be
sitting on the beach and drinking ritas teeing off against 15 teams, most Power 5, and four in the SEC. Half the field is ranked in the top 30 with two in the Top 10- Arizona and Arizona State.
It should be a good test for the team and a good individual test for Augenstein.