Gordon Sargent will return to Vanderbilt for senior season, defer PGA Tour card

Gordon Sargent will return to Vanderbilt for senior season, defer PGA Tour card
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When it comes to the PGA Tour, Gordon Sargent can wait a little longer.

The Vanderbilt junior, who already has a Tour card in his back pocket thanks to PGA Tour University’s Accelerated program, announced Thursday that he will return to school for his senior season and defer his 18 months of Tour status until next summer.

Sargent, the 21-year-old Birmingham, Alabama, native with eye-popping speed, had been contemplating his future ever since earning his 20th Accelerated point by teeing it up at the World Amateur Team Championship in Abu Dhabi last October. (Sargent is the first – and still only – player to pass that threshold since Accelerated was rolled out two falls ago.)

“Was kind of hoping a decision would come clear and obviously nothing’s just going to, there’s not going to be a perfect answer,” Sargent said. “But I was weighing my options and I mean, after just playing a few college events in the spring, I think you really appreciate how much you enjoy college golf. After reviewing with my parents, coaches and team-wise, it just kind of seemed like it was the best thing for me. I could stay in Nashville and continue to get better.”

Currently the world’s top-ranked amateur, Sargent has racked up some impressive accomplishments since capturing the NCAA individual title as a freshman in 2021. He became the first NCAA champ to receive a special invite to the Masters last year, and he earned low-amateur honors at last summer’s U.S. Open at LACC. Later in the year, Sargent went 4-0 to lead the U.S. to Walker Cup victory at St. Andrews, and he received the McCormack Medal as the No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking at the end of the summer amateur calendar, which gets him into both Opens this summer.

Sargent is coming off the first win of his junior season, at the Mason Rudolph Championship, Vanderbilt’s home event, which was his fifth top-10 finish of the campaign. But this season hasn’t been as consistent for Sargent, who has finished outside the top 35 twice, including at last month’s Valspar Collegiate, where he played his final four holes in 8 over to finish T-65.

“This spring feel like I haven’t played very well in the first couple events,” Sargent said, “but I felt like I matured on the golf course and found ways to hit different shots and it gave me the freedom to work on things that I know that I’ll need in the future.”

Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh says Sargent has been working on different ball flights, improving his posture, dialing in his wedges.

“And overall, throughout his entire bag, he just wants to be a more consistent and well-rounded golfer,” Limbaugh said, before adding, “If he didn’t think he was still improving, he would not be making this decision, or if he thought that he wasn’t going to still be improving next year, he wouldn’t have made this decision.”

Sargent will still be able to take up his PGA Tour membership after wrapping up his senior season, preferably following the 2025 NCAA Championship. He’ll maintain full status through the 2026 Tour season, too. As for this spring’s nationals, Sargent and the Commodores are arguably the team to beat, a year after falling flat at Grayhawk. They begin play at the SEC Championship next Wednesday at Sea Island, followed by an NCAA regional, where they will be a No. 1 seed.

In making this decision now, Sargent hopes that it frees him up not only to get better, but to chase some hardware as well.

“I think there were a lot of expectations this year, and we’re looking forward to the postseason, but I think just staying another year, being a senior, enjoying the college life and while also knowing, I mean knowing there’s a PGA Tour card still waiting for you, it gives you a lot of freedom if you need to make some changes and stuff,” Sargent said. “Then off the golf course, just continue to mature as a person and just better prepare myself for the future.”

Added Limbaugh: “I’m just proud that he made a decision that was entirely his. … I just think that takes a lot of courage to make a decision like this.”

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