Florida State holds off Vanderbilt after wild finish at Valspar Collegiate

Florida State holds off Vanderbilt after wild finish at Valspar Collegiate

It was one of the wilder finishes you’ll see in college golf this season.

Florida State began Tuesday’s final round of the prestigious Valspar Collegiate with a six-shot advantage over second-place Wake Forest. Vanderbilt and Arizona State, two likely NCAA title contenders, were another stroke back in a tie for third.

While the Demon Deacons fell back to an eventual solo ninth and the Sun Devils remained third at tournament’s end, the Commodores made a spirited charge at the Seminoles. Vanderbilt was 17 under as a team through 14 holes (shotgun start) and had pulled to within a few shots of the lead at that point. Florida State’s four counting scorers then played their final four holes in a combined 5 over, leaving the door open for the Commodores to pull off an epic comeback.

Vanderbilt, though, didn’t take advantage, falling apart on the same stretch of closing holes. Cole Sherwood was 7 under on his round before playing his last four in 2 over. Matthew Riedel, who tied for second individually, wrapped up a 7-under 64 with a bogey-par-par-par finish. William Moll carded a 70 that included a three-putt bogey at his last hole, the par-4 18th. And Gordon Sargent went from 2 under to 6-over 77 by making two double bogeys and a quadruple bogey on his last four holes; he slipped to T-65 on the final individual leaderboard, the worst finish of his college career.

The Commodores’ final-round, 12-under 272 was still the best round of the tournament by any team, and Vanderbilt’s 61 birdies, which included 28 on Tuesday, led the field by three. But Florida State’s field-leading 164 pars were more crucial on a tough Florida National Golf Club layout as the Seminoles, ranked 11th in the Scoreboard national rankings, finished at 19 under, four shots clear of No. 3 Vanderbilt.

“We did a lot of good things this week," Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh said. "There’s also a lot of things we have to do better to be the team we know we can be. Those are the things that keep us from being the best version of ourselves. We still try to do too much sometimes, instead of accepting the situation we’ve created."

No. 1 North Carolina ended up eighth, 23 shots back, while Arkansas was fourth and Oklahoma fifth. Two other top-10 teams played, No. 6 Alabama (T-10) and No. 9 Texas Tech (12th).

The Seminoles, the nation’s fourth-ranked team in the preseason according to, got off to a slow start last fall as they battled injuries and international amateur tournaments that kept some players out of lineups. Florida State finished sixth or worse in each of its first three events before winning stroke-play portions of the Stephens Cup and East Lake Cup, plus the championship match at the former.

Tuesday’s win in Palm City, Florida, marks the team’s first win of the spring after runner-up finishes in two of its past three events entering the Valspar.

“We’re just starting to come around," Florida State head coach Trey Jones said, "and the seniors are doing their job and the younger players aren’t quite as young right now, but overall, I would say the consistency today was really good. We didn’t make a whole lot of mistakes until later in the round.”

Sophomore Luke Clanton led the way for Florida State by notching his second straight individual win. Clanton shot 65-68-66 for a 14-under showing and five-shot win, which earned him a spot in the 2025 Valspar Championship on the PGA Tour.

"That's a lot of pressure," Clanton said to a teammate as he walked off the last green.

"To be able to do what I did the last three days is something I’ve worked for for a while," Clanton said later.

Added Jones: "Everything he’s doing is right right now."

Arkansas’ Christian Castillo tied with Riedel for second followed by Arizona State freshman Wenyi Ding in fourth and North Carolina senior Austin Greaser in fifth. Breakout player Gray Albright and senior Frederik Kjettrup, who missed the first three events in the fall, each tied for eighth for Florida State.