Stroke Play Results
The Commodore men’s golf team maximized their three hours of national television exposure on the Golf Channel on Monday afternoon, winning the team and individual stroke play titles at the East Lake Cup at the legendary East Lake Club in Atlanta, Ga. Vanderbilt won the team title by three shots over defending national champion Oklahoma with a total of 292, and Gordon was the only player to finish at even par and edged out Oklahoma’s Grant Hirschman, Illinois’ Nick Hardy, and teammates Theo Humphrey and John Augenstein for medalist honors.
The Commodores were steady throughout the day on a very tough East Lake Club, leading the four teams in pars by nine and making 10 birdies for the day. Vanderbilt counted Gordon’s 72, Humphrey and Augenstein’s 73, and a 74 from freshman Harrison Ott.
“I was really proud how we hung in there today,” said Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh. “We played really solid. Really proud of the guys. It is a hard golf course and I think you learn a lot about your teams in times like this. You’ve got to hit the ball in the fairway. You have to be in the fairway, and when you’re not, you’ve got to be tough enough to keep your ball below the hole.
“I’m not a scoreboard guy but I think you want guys to know how you are going to play a hole right now,” said Limbaugh. “Of course, he was going to try to make birdie from the fairway on 18. To me, until we get to championship season, everything is training ground so I want him to know what he’s got to do.”
Gordon, who led the field in birdies with four, cruised to an early lead after making three of those birdies in the first six holes and then held on for the individual title after a double bogey on 17.
“I got off to a really good start,” said Gordon. “I drove the ball really well on the front nine. I was 3-under through six and that set me up to a really nice day. It could have been better, but I’ll take it. But overall, it was a solid day. I don’t think I tried to do anything different on the different nines. It’s just a tough golf course and you have to be on your game all 18 holes. I did a good job of it for probably about 15 of them but we’ll see if we can improve on it the next couple of days.”
“I’m really happy for Will,” said Limbaugh. “He has been trending in the right direction. I was hoping Theo would have made his putt on 18 to finish birdie-birdie. That would have been sweet. We did this same thing last year and the next day we came out without the right kind of focus. For us, it is just a great opportunity to see if we are going to be focused in the right way to play good golf tomorrow.”
Vanderbilt will face a familiar opponent in the Oregon Ducks, who defeated the Commodores in the semifinals of the 2017 NCAA Championship at Sugar Grove and also in the semifinals of the 2016 East Lake Cup. The Commodores will face the Ducks in one match on Tuesday, while Illinois and Oklahoma will play in the other match, with winners and losers playing each other on Wednesday.
“We’re very lucky to be able to play here,” said Gordon. “It is our second year in a row and only four teams get to play. We are really lucky to be one of them. It is a tough golf course that tests our game and is a good way to end the fall.
The Commodores will tee off at 11:05 a.m. ET on Wednesday with the following pairings.
Will Gordon vs. Edwin Yi - 11:05
Patrick Martin vs. Ryan Gronlund - 11:25
Harrison Ott vs. Norman Xiong - 11:45
John Augenstein vs. Donald Kay - 12:05
Theo Humphrey vs. Thomas Mulligan - 12:25
Live coverage of the East Lake Cup on the Golf Channel begins at 2 p.m. CT.
1. Vanderbilt - 292
1. Will Gordon - 72
T2. Theo Humphrey - 73
T2. John Augenstein - 73
T6. Harrison Ott - 74
T13. Patrick Martin - 76
Gordon claims Tom Cousins Award
Not only did Will Gordon take home the hardware for medalist honors at the East Lake Cup, he also won the Tom Cousins Award, given to a male collegiate golfer who excels in academics, engages in their community and overcomes adversity. Gordon is the second Vanderbilt golfer to win the award in as many years after Patrick Martin won the award last year.
The award is named after developer and philanthropist Tom Cousins, who laid out a bold vision to revitalize the East Lake community of Atlanta by providing cradle-to-college education, mixed-income housing and community wellness to break the cycle of poverty to create a holistic environment. East Lake now acts as a national model for community redevelopment through Purpose Built Communities for transforming a struggling community into a thriving neighborhood.