Gordon Sargent dominates as Vanderbilt rolls in spring opener
Gordon Sargent has picked up right where he left off.
After capping his fall with an individual victory at the East Lake Cup, the Vanderbilt sophomore opened his spring campaign on Monday by winning the John Hayt Invitational by seven shots and helping the Commodores to a dominant team win.
“Gordon is playing awesome golf and I am so proud of how he finished that round today,” Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh said. “He has such high demands for himself and that really helps set a standard for everyone.”
Sargent shot 15 under over 54 holes in two days at Sawgrass Country Club, a performance that was highlighted by a second-round, 8-under 64. North Florida’s Nick Gabrelcik, who could be a U.S. Walker Cup teammate of Sargent’s this September, was solo second for the host Ospreys, who also placed runner-up as a team, though 16 shots behind Vanderbilt.
The Commodores, who finished the fall ranked second by Golfstat, compiled a 28-under winning score as senior Matthew Riedel, one of three Vanderbilt players on the current Haskins Award Watch List, and sophomore Jackson Van Paris, making his first start of the season, joining Sargent in the top 6. Riedel tied for fourth while Van Paris was T-6. Freshman Wells Williams (T-11) and junior Cole Sherwood (T-14) rounded out the starting five this week.
“It was important to get off to a good start this spring and send the right kind of message and the guys did that,” Limbaugh said. “We also know that our actions determine our outcomes and we have to continue to look forward and be excited about growing and improving. I believe in this group and I know they are hungry to be the best they can be.”
As for Sargent, he should further cement his positioning as Golfstat’s No. 1 individual. He now has two wins, a T-2, T-3 and T-7 to his name this season and is suddenly distancing himself in the races for player of the year.
Something else to keep an eye on with Sargent: PGA Tour University Accelerated, a program for underclassmen that allow them to earn a PGA Tour card if they achieve a certain number of points via top accomplishments. Sargent currently has 10 points, halfway to the 20 required for the extraordinary perk.
While Sargent already has told GolfChannel.com that he will return for his junior season, Sargent can save his PGA Tour status for next summer even if he were to get to 20 points this year, which is possible. He will already receive one point for playing in the Masters this April, and he could earn up to three additional points if he were to top 20. There is also the potential for two points if he were to reach No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking; he’s No. 3 right now, and he would get one point for improving to No. 2.
And then there are the nine points available via awards (three apiece for the Hogan, Haskins and Nicklaus Awards). Sargent is likely the current frontrunner for all three, so if he sweeps those awards and shows up at Augusta National, he’ll have his Tour card by June.