The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Florida, Vanderbilt advance to finals in SEC men's golf

45 days ago
Florida and Vanderbilt Athletics
Photo: Florida Athletics

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- Matthew Kress has started to make his name known at the SEC Championship and at Sea Island Golf Club. In his postseason debut, he clinched both match play matches on Saturday, sending the Florida men's golf team to the match play finals Sunday.

After not playing in his first-year, Kress has had an impressive last three days. He erased seven shots in round two of stroke play with a 67 (-3) on Thursday to move Florida into third-place and then followed with a final round of 69 (-1) on Friday. He continued his postseason debut securing the match clinching point twice today with the final sending the Gators to a rematch with No. 4 Vanderbilt for the SEC title.

A native of Saratoga, Calif., he led off Florida in the semifinals vs. No. 2 Texas A&M, winning the first four holes with two birdies and didn't drop a hole until on eight. Kress sent the Gators into celebration with a par on 18 to win his match 2 Up as UF won the match 3-2. The victory was the second straight over the Aggies in the semifinals as eight of the ten total players were featured in the matchups last season.

Florida grabbed the first point off the board from John DuBois. He bounced back after a 6&5 setback in the quarterfinals with a 3&2 victory over his opponent, who he defeated last year in 19 holes to send the Gators to the finals.

The Gators quickly moved to 2-0 with another 3&2 win, this time from Fred Biondi. After dropping his first hole, he responded with back-to-back wins and held steady at the turn. His win on 16 turned the attention to 18 where Kress added to his postseason story.

Meanwhile, Reid Davenport's short made putt on a 19th hole Saturday gave the Commodores a 3-2 win over rival Tennessee and put Vanderbilt in the SEC Championships final for the third season in a row.

Tied with Josh Hill after 18 holes, Davenport gave Vandy its third win with Cole Sherwood and Gordon Sargent having already secured their respective matches. William Moll had also teed off behind Davenport, but the fifth-year senior's putt left Moll's matchup moot as Davenport and his teammates celebrated the victory up ahead on the green.

"After losing 17 there, Reid showed tremendous resiliency and character to fight and make that putt on 18 and then bury that last putt to push us to the finals," Vandy head coach Scott Limbaugh said.

Tennessee was the No. 1 seed in the eight-team match play portion of the event.

"We came into this week talking about this being our opportunity. It's not somebody else's. It's ours. You got to have that mentality. I believe that's what great competitors do," Limbaugh said. "It's going to take another great effort Sunday against a great team, one that we're familiar with. We just need to go play Vandy golf and need to be play with a lot of grit, a lot of character and a lot of fight. Will certainly be excited to have a lot of our fans here wearing black and gold."


Sunday's showdown will serve as a rematch to last year's finals when Vanderbilt narrowly edged Florida 3-2 with the match coming down to the final hole. The battle for the conference will be live on SEC Network with Gator Great and former Florida golfer Steve Melnyk on the call. The match will start at 8 a.m.