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Men’s Golf Preview

The defending SEC champs open their season this weekend at the Carmel Cup.

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am - Final Round Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

The good news? Vanderbilt men’s golf is coming off an SEC Championship season.

The even better news? Basically everyone returns off last year’s team. The Commodores competed in ten events prior to the NCAA championships, and with five golfers competing in each event, that’s 50 total events — and 48 of them are returning. The only exception are the two events played by John Augenstein, who turned professional in November after competing in the Masters and U.S. Open. (Augenstein had an invite to both on the basis of his runner-up finish at the 2019 U.S. Amateur, which he would have forfeited had he turned professional prior to either event.)

No golfer won an event as an individual; Vanderbilt’s strength in 2020-21 was depth. The Commodores boasted three golfers who averaged under 72 strokes per round. Junior William Moll played 30 rounds and averaged a team-best 70.2 strokes per round, with 18 rounds under par. He was followed by fellow junior Matthew Riedel, who played in nine of the team’s 10 events (missing the season-opening Blessings Collegiate Invitational, when Augenstein was still on the team) and averaged 70.9 strokes per round, with 14 of his 27 rounds under par.

Rounding out the team’s top three was senior Reid Davenport, who posted 13 of 30 rounds under par and averaged 71.3 strokes per round. Again, all three are returning this season.

The last two spots are an open question, and Scott Limbaugh might play around with those two spots. Fifth-year senior Harrison Ott was very hit-or-miss last season; when he was good, he was fine, but blow-ups in the Birmingham Invitational (+17) and SEC Championships (+19) got him pulled from the NCAA Regionals, where Vanderbilt went with Moll, Riedel, Davenport, Cole Sherwood, and Michael Shears. Sherwood, as a freshman, played in seven events and had a 71.6 average — but only 3 of his 21 rounds were under par. Sherwood’s secret was simply that his bad rounds weren’t that bad. Shears, a senior, posted 7 rounds under par, albeit three came in a single event — the Old Waverly Collegiate, where he competed as an individual and finished in a tie for fourth.

The question is whether there’s an opening for freshman Gordon Sargent, the #2 player in the Class of 2021. Sargent was the runner-up at the 2021 Western Amateur and also competed in the U.S. Amateur. Sophomore Jansen Preston, who averaged 75.2 in six rounds in 2020-21, and freshman Jackson Van Paris round out the roster.

Schedule

  • September 3-5: Carmel Cup (Pebble Beach Links, Pebble Beach, CA)
  • September 20-21: Scenic City Collegiate (The Honors Course, Ooltewah, TN)
  • October 4-5: Colonial Collegiate Invitational (Colonial CC, Fort Worth, TX)
  • October 10-12: SEC Match Play Championship (Shoal Creek, Birmingham, AL)
  • October 25-26: Carolina Cup (Eagle Point GC, Wilmington, NC)
  • February 21-23: The Prestige (PGA West, La Quinta, CA)
  • February 27-March 1: Cabo Collegiate (Cabo del Sol, The Ocean Course, Los Cabos, Mexico)
  • March 20-22: Linger Longer Invitational (Great Waters Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee, Eatonton, GA)
  • April 1-3: Mason Rudolph Championship (Vanderbilt Legends Club, Franklin, TN)
  • April 20-24: SEC Championship (Seaside Course, Sea Island Golf Club, St. Simons Island, GA)