The Commodores’ men’s golf team captured the NCAA Championship stroke play title and advanced to their third straight appearance in match play competition on Monday at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., while also placing three players, senior Matthias Schwab, junior Theo Humphrey, and freshman John Augenstein, in the top eight on the individual leader board. Vanderbilt will take on UNLV at 7:50 a.m. CT off of the number one tee in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championship.
Vanderbilt tied for the low round of the day with a five-over par, 293, on Monday in very windy conditions at Rich Harvest Farms. The Commodores were never really threatened for the top spot throughout their entire round, and eventually outpaced the second-place Oklahoma Sooners by 12 shots, which set a new record for margin of victory in the stroke-play portion of the NCAA Championship since the tournament changed to a match play format in 2009. In fact, it was the largest margin of victory in stroke play since the 2001 NCAA Championship, when Florida defeated Clemson by 18 shots.
The Commodores had three players finish in the top eight, with senior Matthias Schwab and junior Theo Humphrey leading the way in a tie for third with a four-round score of 282. Humphrey tied for the low round of the day Sunday with a two-under par, 70, on the par-72, 7,300-yard layout. Freshman John Augenstein also finished in a tie for eighth with a total of 285 (74-70-69-72) for the four-round event. All three players were selected, at minimum, to the GCAA Honorable Mention All-American team for finishing in the top 15.
Other finishers for Vanderbilt were sophomore Patrick Martin, who finished in a tie for 62nd with a 298 total (69-76-72-81), and sophomore Will Gordon, who ended the stroke-play portion of the tournament in a tie for 65th with a 299 (71-79-73-76).
“Our guys played some remarkable golf today,” said Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh. “It was about as hard of conditions as you could have and the guys hung tough. We got off to a solid start, which was really big on a day like today and the guys did a great job staying patient and allowing the round to come to them. Theo’s round was absolutely awesome and his bunker hole out on #2 for eagle got his round going. John played another big-time round today and really did a nice job staying patient all day which was big. I am so proud of Matthias and the job he did once again anchoring our team. He’s such special player and played so well this week.”
Vanderbilt finished the four rounds of stroke play as the team leader in par-three scoring average (3.06, +5) and par-five scoring (4.59, -33), and second in pars made with 223. The Commodores were also tied for second out of 30 teams in birdies made with 69. Individually, Schwab and Humphrey finished 1-2 in par-three scoring at 2.81 and 2.88, respectively, with Schwab also pacing the field in total pars with 54.
The Commodores will be joined by UNLV, Oklahoma, Baylor, Illinois, Southern California, Oklahoma State, and Oregon in match play Tuesday. Golf Channel will provide coverage from 10 am CT to 12:30 p.m. CT for the quarterfinals and then again from 3:30 to 7 p.m. CT for the semifinals.
“This was a big step today and one we wanted to take as a group,” said Limbaugh. “We have to reset our focus on the job at hand. We will face a great opponent tomorrow and we will certainly have to play at a very high level. I asked our guys to enjoy this moment we are in because that’s a big part of living, to protect what they think belongs to them, and to not assume. Tomorrow is our next opportunity and we need to take the right approach mentally because when we do that we are a good team.”
1. Vanderbilt - 278-288-280-293=1139
T3. Matthias Schwab - 67-70-70-75=282
T3. Theo Humphrey - 71-72-69-70=282
T8. John Augenstein - 74-70-69-72=285
T62. Patrick Martin - 69-76-72-81=298
T65. Will Gordon - 71-79-73-76=299
Match Play Pairings, Quarterfinals, 7:50 a.m. CT
Patrick Martin vs. Harry Hall (UNLV) - 7:50 a.m.
John Augenstein vs. Taylor Montgomery (UNLV) - 8 a.m.
Will Gordon vs. John Oda (UNLV) - 8:10 a.m.
Theo Humphrey vs. Justin Kim (UNLV) - 8:20 a.m.
Matthias Schwab vs. Shintaro Ban (UNLV) - 8:30 a.m.