Courtesy of Florida Athletics
Florida’s John DuBois
won the individual championship Friday in the final round of stroke-play at the 2022 SEC Men’s Golf Championship taking place this week at the Sea Island Golf Club on St. Simons Island in coastal Georgia.
Meantime, third-ranked Vanderbilt finished atop the team standings after the 54 holes of stroke play on the 7,005-yard, par-70 Seaside Course which has been hosting the SEC tournament since 2001. The Commodores will now go into the weekend as the top seed for the match-play portion of the tournament as they try to repeat as conference champions.
“I’m super proud of our guys for hanging in there. We got pushed today, and I’m proud of our guys for finishing with pride and competitive character,” said Vanderbilt coach Scott Limbaugh.
“We’re thankful to be the low team in stroke-play, but we know we have to get our minds right for the next opportunity. But, I want our kids to enjoy this. We’ve got 10 teams in the top 25 and a lot of other good teams that will be going to the NCAA tournament, so I think it’s definitely something to take great pride in.”
There is no question that DuBois can take major pride in winning the SEC individual title which includes household names in collegiate golf who also went on to stardom in the professional ranks.
He also joins a long list of former Florida greats who won the individual crown when playing for the Gators. That lists includes All-American Steve Melnyk, who will be on the television broadcast Sunday for the championship match on the SEC Network as a color analyst. Other former league champions from Florida are back-to-back winner Gary Koch, current PGA star Billy Horschel and also Brian Gay, another player who had success on the PGA Tour after playing for the Gators.
Florida has now had one of its players claim the individual title in three of the last five SEC tournaments.
“It’s kinda settling in as we talk about it,” DuBois said of claiming the crown. “It’s a pretty cool feeling.”
DuBois, a junior for the Gators, finished the final 18 Friday with a 2-under 68 to post a one-shot win over Vanderbilt freshman Gordon Sargent
who settled for second after posting a second-straight 69 score to finish all three rounds with a score in the 60s.
DuBois completed three rounds with a 6-under total. He opened with a 2-over 72 in the first round on Wednesday before firing a sparkling 64 in round two to climb into contention for the individual win.
The 64 by DuBois, which was highlighted by seven birdies against one bogey, was his career-low and tied for third-lowest round in SEC tournament history. His round also tied the program-low by a Florida golfer in the conference tourney.
He started the final round two strokes behind tournament leader Phichaksn Maichon
from Texas A&M who led after two days with a 6-under score. A total of six players were within two shots of the lead going into Friday’s action.
Maichon shot 79 over the closing round and fell to a tie for 34th on the leaderboard.
DuBois all but sealed the win Friday afternoon on the par-4 16th hole when he made a birdie while Sargent settled for a bogey after an errant drive into the marsh cost him a penalty stroke. Dubois hit a gap wedge from 105 yards to close range for his birdie putt.
The Florida standout went from a stroke down to a stroke ahead with the two-shot swing. Both players then made par on the par-3 17th.
On the 18th, Dubois reached the green in regulation and two-putted from some 40 feet to stay 6-under. Sargent had a makeable birdie attempt to forge a tie but it was just off the mark. He finished out with a par to end his three rounds at 5-under.
DuBois received a Gatorade shower from his teammates who charged the green to congratulate him on his triumph.
“I had no clue until it was over that I’d won,” he said.
Match Play Preview
Saturday will be a long day of golf for those who make it out of the quarterfinal round which will feature the top eight teams from the stroke-play event.
The quarterfinals will start at 7:30 a.m. with the semifinal matches scheduled for the afternoon.
The championship match will be held on Sunday.
Vanderbilt will take on Mississippi State which captured the eighth and final spot as the Bulldogs finished at 4-over 844 as a team over the three rounds. The Bulldogs edged out Auburn which missed the final eight by a stroke.
The Commodores finished three rounds at 16-under to claim the top seed by three strokes over Texas A&M.
Vanderbilt defeated Arkansas last spring in the match-play final to claim the league title. The Razorbacks finished Friday’s third round at 11-over and were 10th in the standings. Thus, they didn’t make it to the weekend this time.
The Aggies, as the No. 2 seed, will face off against No. 7 Tennessee in the quarterfinals.
Florida, the No. 3 seed, will square off with rival Georgia in the quarterfinal round for a spot in the semifinals. The Bulldogs are the sixth seed.
The other quarterfinal matchup is No. 4 seed LSU against No. 5 seed Missouri.