Image above: The March/April 2011 issue of SDM featured a (very) young Gordon Sargent.
File this under: You Saw It Here First. Gordon Sargent, a golf standout at Vanderbilt University, just received something athletes twice his age (and more) covet: An invitation to the 2023 Masters in Augusta. But years before that (more than 10 years, in fact), Sargent was a towheaded kid playing youth baseball in Alabama – and showing up in a featured photo in a 2011 issue of Sports Destination Management.
So how did the kid from Birmingham, Alabama make the jump?
It wasn’t an accident, for sure. Sargent has a long history of excelling in sports. While he started out as a youth baseball player (as a pitcher, he helped his team win the local fourth grade championship), it was in golf that he found his path.
According to Vanderbilt, Sargent is the reigning NCAA Division I men’s individual champion. The 19-year-old birdied the first hole of a four-way playoff in May to win, becoming the first freshman since 2007 to claim the individual title.
In case you missed it: He was a freshman when he did that. Now, on the cusp of turning 20, he has the distinction of being the first amateur in 23 years to receive a special invitation to Augusta. In other words, it hasn’t happened since before he was born.
In golf alone, he has amassed a raft of honors, including the following during his two years at Vanderbilt:
As a Sophomore (2022-23):
- Golfweek Preseason First-Team All-American
- Named to 2022 Haskins Award Preseason Watch List
- Named to Final Fall Haskins Award Watch List
- co-SEC Golfer of the Week (Nov. 2)
- co-SEC Golfer of the Week (Oct. 5)
- Won the individual stroke play championship at the East Lake Cup with a 4-under-par 68
- Tied for second at 2022 SEC Match Play event with a 54-hole total of 198
- Shot 6-under-par at the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invitational to tie for third overall
- Shot a 62 in the second round of the Frederica Cup, finished tied for seventh overall at 14-under-par for the tournament
- Tied for 36th overall individually and helped Team USA to a third-place finish at the 2022 World Amateur Team Championship
- Competed for Team USA at the Palmer Cup
- Advanced to match play at the 2022 U.S. Amateur
As a Freshman (2021-22):
- 2022 individual national champion
- Totaled a 280 through four rounds of stroke play at the NCAA Championships before winning a four-way playoff to win the individual national title
- 2022 Phil Mickelson Outstanding Freshman Award
- NCAA Division I PING First-Team All-American
- Golfweek First-Team All-American
- SEC Freshman of the Year
- Haskins Award finalist
- First Team All-SEC
- SEC All-Freshman Team
- PING All-Region Southeast
- First-Year SEC Academic Honor Roll
- Led the Commodores with a 70.03 scoring average
- SEC Championships individual runner-up at 5-under-par (205)
- Mossy Oak Collegiate champion with a 54-hole total 204 (-12)
- Named SEC Freshman of the Week (April 14)
- Named SEC Freshman of the Week (April 7)
- Named SEC Freshman of the Week (March 31)
- Shot a 4-under-par 212 and tied for fourth at the Palm Beach Regional
- Tied for fourth at the Linger Longer Invitational at 7-under-par (209)
- Finished fifth at the 2022 Mason Rudolph Championship with a 54-hole total of 204
- In his Vanderbilt debut, tied for sixth at the 2021 Carmel Cup with a 4-under-par 212
- Came in seventh at the Cabo Collegiate at 10-under-par
- Tied for eighth at the Williams Cup
The Sargent File
- No. 1-ranked player in state of Alabama
- No. 2-ranked player in class of 2021
- Three-time Rolex Junior All American
- 2021 Western Amateur runner-up
- 2021 USA TODAY Male Golfer of the Year
- 2021 Alabama Golf Association Amateur Player of the Year
- 2020 recipient of the Paul S. Simon Character Award (Sage Valley Invitational)
- Co-founder and three-time host of the Alabama Cup charity event, which has raised more than $150,000 for the AJGA Ace Grant and Alabama charities
- Two-time Alabama boys Junior Player of the Year
- Two-time AJGA champion
- 2020 Alabama State Amateur champion
- 2019 Alabama State Junior champion
- Competed in 2019 US Junior
- Competed in 2020 US Amateur
- Ranked No. 3 nationally by Golfweek, Junior Golf Scoreboard and Rolex
And in case you’re doubting his youth prowess on the diamond, check out the picture from SDM’s March/April 2011 issue. Then compare it to the shot of him with his NCAA trophy – same kid, just with a world more experience.
It’s a pretty sure bet that NCAA trophy won’t be the last one he hoists.