The number-three ranked and number-one seeded Commodores claimed the stroke-play portion of the 2017 SEC Championship on Saturday at the Sea Island Golf Club’s Seaside Course after finishing the 54-hole tournament with a score of 11-under par, 829 (276-281-272), six shots better than second-place Texas A&M. The first-place stroke-play finish is Vanderbilt’s highest in their 52-year history of the event, surpassing a second-place finish in 2015 and a pair of fourth-place finishes in 2002 and 2004, respectively. Sophomore Patrick Martin tied Florida’s Alejandro Tosti for the lowest individual score with a 10-under par, 200 (66-68-66) and finished runner-up after Tosti defeated Martin on the second playoff hole.
The Commodores saved their best for last on Saturday, carding the best round of the day with an eight-under par, 272, an all-time Vanderbilt-best at the SEC Championship. Vanderbilt counted Martin and Theo Humphrey’s 66’s, a 69 from Matthias Schwab, and a 71 from Will Gordon. The three-round team total of 829 is one-shot better than the Commodores’ previous best at the event, an 830 (276-274-280) in a second-place finish in 2015.
There was also a first on the individual side with Martin’s three-round total of 200, which is the best by a Commodore at the SEC Championship by five shots, beating All-American Hunter Stewart’s 205 in 2015. Martin’s runner-up finish is also a new Vanderbilt best. Mark Donnell had Vanderbilt’s previous-best finish when he finished in a tie for second in 2004.
Humphrey, who along with Martin tied a Commodore single-round record previously held by Matthias Schwab (2016) at the SEC Championship on Saturday with their 66’s, ended the stroke-play portion of the tournament in 12th place with a final score of 209 (70-73-66). Gordon finished in a tie for 18th with a 212 (72-69-71), John Augenstein carded a 214 (69-71-74) and finished in a tie for 27th, and Schwab finished in a tie for 33rd with a 215 total (71-75-69).
Vanderbilt finished stroke play as the tournament’s leader in par four scoring by 12 shots and tied LSU with the most pars over the first 54 holes with 192. Martin tied for the tournament lead in par-five scoring (4.17, -5), and was second in par-four scoring (3.83, -6).
“What a fun day out there today,” said Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh. “I am extremely proud of how the guys played and set the tone from the start. I thought we did a great job of not getting complacent and instead, we played hungry. Theo and Matthias did an outstanding job getting out first and setting the tone for our team. Obviously, we are proud of Patrick. He stayed patient early in his round which really allowed him to free up after making a long par putt on nine. His back nine was just outstanding golf and propelled our team to the top, which is a very big deal and a great step for us.”
The Commodores will face number eight seed Ole Miss in the quarterfinal round of match play Sunday morning at 6:30 CT. The Rebels finished the first 54 holes with a team score of 12-over, 252. Other match ups Sunday include #2 Texas A&M vs. #7 Missouri, #3 LSU vs. #6 Alabama, and #4 Florida vs. #5 South Carolina. The winners in the morning will advance to the semifinals later in the afternoon.
“Tomorrow is another great opportunity for us,” said Limbaugh. “We have to reset our focus and understand what we have to do to be successful. The most important thing for us is to make the proper adjustments and compete the way we know how to. Every man has a job to do tomorrow. We are looking forward to competing and taking another step.”
1. Vanderbilt – 276-281-272=829
T1. Patrick Martin – 66-68-66=200
12. Theo Humphrey – 70-73-66=209
T18. Will Gordon – 72-69-71=212
T27. John Augenstein – 69-71-74=214
T33. Mathias Schwab – 71-75-69=215
Sunday Match Play Pairings
1. Patrick Martin vs. Ben Wolcott, 6:30 CT
2. John Augenstein vs. Josh Seiple, 6:40 CT
3. Will Gordon vs. Noah West, 6:50 CT
4. Theo Humphrey vs. Kerry Sweeney, 7:00 CT
5. Matthias Schwab vs. Braden Thornberry, 7:10 CT
– VUCommodores.com –