STILLWATER, Okla. – Vanderbilt’s golf season will hit its apex this week as the Commodores travel to the Sooner state to compete in the sport’s national championship May 25-30 at the Karsten Creek Golf Club.
The trip to the NCAA Championship will be Vanderbilt’s fifth consecutive year to participate in the event, The Commodores will look to build on past successes, which include winning the stroke play championship in 2017 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. and advancing to match play, which features the top eight teams in the nation, for the last three years in a row.
Vanderbilt will be the four seed and will play with number-five seed Alabama and number-six seed Florida for the first two rounds of the tournament, which will take place Friday and Saturday. The Commodores have played with both the Crimson Tide and Gators on numerous occasions this year, including at their own Mason Rudolph Championship in April and at the SEC Championship in Sea Island, Ga. in May. Vanderbilt will tee off at 12:42 p.m. CT off of the first hole Friday and at 7:22 a.m. on the 10th hole Saturday.
In all, this will be the Commodores’ eighth appearance at the NCAA Championship, with their third-place finish (loss to Oregon in match play semifinals) in 2017 ranking as Vanderbilt’s best finish at the event.
Last season at the NCAA Championship, the Commodores won the stroke-play portion of the NCAA Championship by 12 strokes in Sugar Grove. It 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, and was the largest margin of victory in stroke play since the 2001 NCAA Championship, when Florida defeated Clemson by 18 shots.
The Commodores have finished first (2017), second (2015) and fourth (2016), respectively, in the last three NCAA Championships in stroke play and have advanced to match play in each of the seasons, Vanderbilt is the only SEC team to accomplish the feat.
“I am just really excited for this moment with this team,” said Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh, who is making his fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship as the Commodores’ head coach. “We have a group of guys that has taken good steps all year and each one of them has delivered in big moments when the team needed it. In moments like this, you have to draw from those times and embrace it.
“The NCAA Championship is a week when everything is put to the test and we have to be tough enough to have a plan and stick to that plan. All the little things matter this week and being able to really just focus on what you have to do to play your best golf instead of all the external stuff. You really just want the players to let their game come to them, execute their plan, and do their job and not really be concerned about the outcome. It’s a long week, so staying patient and controlling your emotions are very important this week. Karsten Creek is a great course that really test all aspects of your game and I believe our guys are well prepared. I want us to enjoy the privilege of the battle and believe in themselves and believe in each other,” Limbaugh added.
NCAA Championship Schedule
May 25-28, 2018 - Stroke Play: 72 Holes
Friday, May 25: First Round (18)- 7 a.m. CT
Saturday, May 26: Second Round (18) - 7 a.m. CT
Sunday, May 27: Third Round (18) - 7 a.m. CT
Top 15 teams advance
Monday, May 28: Final Round (18) - 11:30 a.m. CT
(Golf Channel coverage from 3-8 CT)
Top 8 teams advance to match play
May 29-30, 2018 - Match Play
Tuesday, May 29: Match Play Quarterfinals - 7 a.m. CT
(Golf Channel coverage 10:30 am -12:30 pm)
Tuesday, May 29: Match Play Semifinals - 1:30 p.m. CT
(Golf Channel coverage 3:30-7 pm)
Wednesday, May 30: Championship Match - 2:10 p.m. CT
(Golf Channel coverage 3-7 pm)
Commodores sending accomplished squad
The Commodores will send senior Theo Humphrey, juniors Will Gordon and Patrick Martin, sophomore John Augenstein, and redshirt freshman Mason Greenberg to Stillwater to compete at the NCAA Championship. Freshman Harrison Ott will serve as an alternate.
Humphrey, Gordon, Martin, and Augenstein were honored by the SEC this year for their accomplishments, and all four have been named an All-American by the Golf Coaches Association of America at one point in their careers.
Greenberg, from Southlake Carroll High School in Southlake, Texas and was ranked the number one player in the state of Texas and the sixth-ranked player in the country in the class of 2016, has solidified his position in the starting lineup and is playing the best golf of his college career.
All-SEC Selections Under Limbaugh
Since Limbaugh’s arrival in 2012, the Commodores have had 16 All-SEC selections, two Players of the Year (Theo Humphrey in 2018 and Hunter Stewart in 2015), and a Freshman of the Year (John Augenstein in 2017). Prior to his arrival, Vanderbilt had a total of 10 selections, with seven coming from current PGA stars Luke List (four-time selection, 2004-07) and Brandt Snedeker (three-time selection, 2001-03).
The Commodores were front and center in the selections honoring the best in the league in 2017-18. Humphrey became the third Commodore, joining Stewart in 2015 and Snedeker in 2003, to win SEC Player of the Year honors. Humphrey was also named to the All-SEC First Team. Gordon was also named to the All-SEC First Team, with Martin and Augenstein honored on the All-SEC 2nd Team.
Four Commodores were named to the 2017 Golf Coaches Association of America All-American teams, with Martin being named Vanderbilt Men’s Golf’s fourth first-team All-American and the third in the last three years. Matthias Schwab was named to the second team, Humphrey the third team, and Augenstein to the All-Freshman and Honorable Mention teams.
Martin joins Schwab (2016), Stewart (2015), and Snedeker (2004) as Vanderbilt’s all-time first-team selections. Three of the last 10 Freshmen All-Americans in 2016 and 2017 were Commodores - Gordon, Martin and Augenstein. In all, the Commodores have had 10 All-American selections since 2013.
Vanderbilt enters the NCAA Championship as the number four in the nation according to Golfstat.com.
Career leaders currently on course for Dores
Four Commodores currently competing on the course are four of the top five scorers in program history. Martin is first with a 70.80 stroke average in 97 stroke-play rounds played, Humphrey is third at 71.09 strokes per round in 128 total rounds, Augenstein is fourth all-time with a 71.33 stroke average in 63 rounds, and Gordon is fifth with a career average of 71.36 in 97 rounds played. Current PGA Tour member Jon Curran, who played from 2005-09 is sixth with a 71.56 stroke average, and PGA star Brandt Snedeker (2000-04) is seventh with a 71.77 career average.