Vanderbilt will be making their program-best fourth consecutive trip the NCAA Championship this Friday when they travel to Sugar Grove, Ill., and the Rich Harvest Farms Golf Club to take on the nation’s best collegiate men’s golf programs. The Commodores, who finished in a tie for second at the NCAA College Grove Regional last week to qualify for the upcoming event, have advanced to the Elite Eight in the last two NCAA Championships, which were held in Bradenton, Fla., and Eugene, Ore., in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
The Commodores, who enter the NCAA Championship as the number three overall seed, will be making their seventh overall NCAA Championship appearance. Vanderbilt has had recent success at the national championship, placing in a tie for fourth in the stroke-play portion of the tournament in 2016 and second in stroke play in 2015.
Vanderbilt, who will be paired with #1 Southern California and #2 Oklahoma State, will tee off at 12:05 Central time on Friday off of the number 10 tee at the par-72, 7,300-yard Rich Harvest Farms Golf Club. All thirty teams will play 54 holes of stroke play Friday through Sunday, with the top 15 teams and nine individuals not affiliated with those teams advancing to the final 18 holes of stroke play Monday. An individual champion will be crowned Monday, May 29, and the top eight teams will advance to match play, which begins on Tuesday, May 30. The quarterfinals and semifinals will take place on Tuesday, with the finals taking place Wednesday, May 31.
“We have asked our guys to take the right kinds of steps all year long, from the first event until this NCAA Championship and so far they have done just that,” said Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh. Each one of them has delivered for the team when it mattered and that should give them a lot of confidence as we head to Rich Harvest Farms. I think the hardest thing to do in these big tournaments is to get the guys to limit the distractions. They have to be able to control their own play box and control the things they can control. There are several steps at this next event and our job is to stay patient and embrace each step along the way. It will be a Championship course with a Championship setup so we have to enjoy the moment. Nobody has to try to do anything more than just be themselves.”
Vanderbilt will send their same lineup from the College Grove Regional to Illinois: senior Matthias Schwab, sophomore Patrick Martin, junior Theo Humphrey, sophomore Will Gordon, and freshman John Augenstein.
NCAA Championship Schedule
May 26-29, 2017 - Stroke Play: 72 Holes
Friday, May 26: First Round (18)- 6:45 a.m. CT
Saturday, May 27: Second Round (18) - 6:45 a.m. CT
Sunday, May 28: Third Round (18) - 6:45 a.m. CT
Top 15 teams advance
Monday, May 29: Final Round (18) - 11:30 a.m. CT
(Golf Channel coverage from 3-8 CT)
Top 8 teams advance to match play
May 29-31, 2017 - Match Play
Tuesday, May 30: Match Play Quarterfinals - 7 a.m. CT
(Golf Channel coverage 10:30 am -12:30 pm)
Tuesday, May 30: Match Play Semifinals - 1:30 p.m. CT
(Golf Channel coverage 3:30-7 pm)
Wednesday, May 31: Championship Match - 2:10 p.m. CT
(Golf Channel coverage 3-7 pm)
Limbaugh in fifth season
Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh, who is in his fifth season with the Commodores, has led Vanderbilt to 12 team titles in his tenure, with the Commodores capturing two titles this season - at the Nike Golf Collegiate and the SEC Championship - and finishing runner-up at the Tavistock Collegate. The Commodores also won the stroke-play portion of the East Lake Cup in Atlanta, Ga., to close out the fall season.
Limbaugh has the Commodores in their fifth consecutive regional, a program first, and has led the team to four consecutive NCAA Championship appearances. The Commodores have finished second and fourth, respectively, in the last two NCAA Championships in stroke play and have advanced to match play in each of the seasons. Limbaugh was named as one of five finalists for the Dave Williams Collegiate Coach of the Year in 2015, in 2016, was named the GCAA Southeast Region Coach of the Year, and was recently named the 2017 SEC Coach of the Year, the first award won by a Vanderbilt men’s golf coach.
The Southeastern Conference handed out their all-conference hardware earlier this month, and the Commodores were front and center in the selections honoring the best in the league in 2016-17. Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh won the program’s first SEC Coach of the Year honor and freshman John Augenstein was named the league’s Freshman of the Year, while Patrick Martin and Matthias Schwab were named to the All-SEC First Team and Theo Humphrey was named to the All-SEC Second Team for their accolades this season.
Matthias Schwab became the third Commodore to be honored as a first-team All-American by the Golf Coaches Association of America in 2016, joining Hunter Stewart in 2015 and Brandt Snedeker in 2004. Additionally, two of the five Freshmen All-Americans in 2016 were Commodores - Will Gordon and Patrick Martin. Gordon and Martin became the program’s first freshmen All-Americans. Gordon was also named a third-team All-Americans in 2016, while Martin was an honorable mention selection.
Vanderbilt spent a majority of the season ranked number one in the latest Golfstat.com poll, the first time in the history of the program the Commodores had reached the top spot in the Golfstat rankings. Currently, the Commodores are third behind Southern California and Oklahoma State. Individually, Martin is ranked 14th, Schwab 21st, and Humphrey 37th in the nation according to Golfstat.
Schwab closing career strong
Senior Matthias Schwab from Rohrmoos, Austria, is considered one of the top collegiate golfers in the nation, and his play this season has certainly reflected that idea. Schwab has finished in the top 12 in seven of nine tournaments he has played this year, with his best finish coming as a runner-up finish at the Tavistock Collegiate. For his career, the senior from Rohrmoos, Austria, now has 11 top-five finishes and 16 top-10 finishes. Earlier this spring, Schwab took part in the Arnold Palmer Invitational with the Arnold Palmer exemption, an award voted on by his peers at the 2016 Palmer Cup which is given to the player that best represents “the `Arnold Palmer Legacy’”. Schwab missed the cut by three shots at the event, which was held March 16-19 at Bay Hill. In Schwab’s four-year career, he is an astonishing 85.6% against opponents.
Vanderbilt wins SEC Championship
The Commodores won their first SEC Championship April 21-24 in Sea Island, Ga., after claiming three 3-2 victories in match play over Ole Miss, Florida, and Texas A&M, respectively, to close out the victory. Vanderbilt also won the stroke-play portion of the tournament, carding a three-round score of 11-under par, 829 (276-281-272), defeating second-place Texas A&M by six shots. Sophomore Patrick Martin finished second in the individual standings after losing to Florida’s Alejandro Tosti on the second playoff hole. Vanderbilt captured their first SEC Championship in 52 years of appearances at the championship. The Commodores’ previous-best finish was tied for second in 2015.
Vanderbilt finishes T-2 at College Grove Regional
Vanderbilt finished in a tie for second at the College Grove Regional and advanced to the NCAA Championship for the fourth consecutive season. Four Commodores finished in the top 17, with sophomore Patrick Martin leading the way with a T-3 finish. Freshman John Augenstein finished in a tie for 13th, junior Theo Humphrey in 16th, and senior Matthias Schwab in a tie for 17th.
Career leaders currently on course for Dores
Four Commodores currently competing on the course are the four of the top five career scorers in program history. Sophomore Patrick Martin is first with a 70.53 stroke average in 62 stroke-play rounds played, with Matthias Schwab second a 70.82 stroke average in 104 total rounds. Junior Theo Humphrey is third at 71.49 strokes per round in 93 total rounds and sophomore Will Gordon is fifth all-time with a 71.61 stroke average in 62 rounds. Current PGA Tour member Jon Curran, who played from 2005-09 is fourth with a 71.56 stroke average, and PGA star Brandt Snedeker, who went 3-0 at the 2016 Ryder Cup, is sixth with a 71.77 career average. Snedeker played for Vanderbilt from 2000-2004.
Augenstein fitting in
Freshman John Augenstein, from Owensboro, Ky., is already fitting in nicely with his more veteran teammates this year. Augenstein has tied Matthias Schwab and Theo Humphrey for the lowest round of the season with a 66 in the first round of the Nike Golf Collegiate at Colonial Country Club, while also posting a career-best fifth-place finish at the tournament. He also carded a top 20 (T-17) finish at the Tavistock Collegiate and the NCAA College Grove Regional (T-13). In the final two matches at the SEC Championship, Augenstein clinched both matches against Florida and Texas A&M.
Combined among the five starters, Vanderbilt has had one individual champion (Patrick Martin at Schenkel Invitational), 13 total top fives, and 20 top 10’s. As a team, Vanderbilt has finished in the top four in all but one tournament this season.
Dores not afraid to go low
In 2016-17, the Commodores have counted 40 rounds in the 60’s on reknown courses - Pebble Beach Golf Links, Colonial Country Club, Isleworth Country Club, East Lake Golf Club, Seaside Golf Club, and the Golf Club of Houston to name a few of the courses.
Humphrey, Martin, and Schwab named Nicklaus Award Semifinalists
Theo Humphrey, Patrick Martin, and Matthias Schwab have been named three of 30 semifinalists for the Jack Nicklaus Award, which is given to the top collegiate Division 1 golfer. Division I finalists for the award will be named May 25. Nicklaus Award recipients will be announced June 1 with the honor presented by Jack Nicklaus at a ceremony during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide at Muirfield Village Golf Club. In addition to receiving the Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award, the five recipients will compete in the Barbasol Shootout for an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s Barbasol Championship, held July 20-23, at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Grand National in Opelika, Ala. The Barbasol Shootout will be held Saturday, June 3 at the storied Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio - the same club where Jack Nicklaus first learned the game of golf as a young boy.
2016 NCAA Championship
The Commodores finished in a tie for fourth with USC in stroke play, and fell to the Trojans in quarterfinal action on the first day of match play. Individually, Matthias Schwab led the way, finishing in a tie for third.
Martin receives 2nd Annual Tom Cousins Award
Sophomore Patrick Martin was selected for the second annual Tom Cousins Award at this year’s East Lake Cup by a selected panel of industry leaders for their accolades both on and off of the golf course. After losing his grandfather to bone cancer in 2009 – the man responsible for introducing Martin and his family to golf – he decided to create a benefit golf tournament, inviting all to make a donation in order to participate. With the help of family, friends and local businesses, in four years the annual tournament raised more than $36,000 for the St. Vincent’s Bruno Cancer Center in Birmingham, Ala. Thanks to his fundraising efforts, the Cancer Center named one of their treatment rooms after his grandfather.
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.