During the college golf season, GolfChannel.com will check in weekly to update what’s happening in the world of college golf.
While this may have been a quieter early signing period thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and a fall Masters garnering much of the attention, there was still no shortage of junior-golf talent putting pen to paper and making their college decisions official.
Headlining the Class of 2021 is top-ranked women’s amateur Rose Zhang, the reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur champion and winner of three AJGA invitationals this year. The Irvine, California native is arguably one of the best recruits in recent college golf history, and she’s joined in a stellar Cardinal class by Switzerland’s Caroline Sturdza and China’s Yu Wen Lu.
"Rose will arrive at Stanford next fall with her eyes on the team record books and the opportunity to etch her name into Stanford Golf history as an individual and also, as a team player," Stanford women's coach Anne Walker said. "She brings a wealth of experience, confidence, poise and humility to our program. We can't wait to see her tee it up with the Cardinal logo on her shirt."
Arizona also boasts a strong class with Italy’s Carolina Melgrati and France’s Lilas Pinthier, who are among another wave of highly ranked Europeans entering women’s college golf. Of course, last year’s freshman class included standouts Pauline Roussin-Bouchard (South Carolina), Ingrid Lindblad (LSU) and Linn Grant (Arizona State).
On the men’s side, Duke and Vanderbilt put together top-3 classes, but Arizona State is the clear No. 1. Not only did the Sun Devils sign U.S. Junior champ Preston Summerhays, but they also netted Spain’s Josele Ballester and Portugal’s Kiko Coelho.
"I don't think I've watched any player improve and develop faster than what Preston has," Arizona State head coach Matt Thurmond said of Summerhays.
One non-Arizona State coach compared Ballester to former Arizona State star Jon Rahm.
Twins David Ford (North Carolina) and Maxwell Ford (Georgia) are also part of the 2021 class, as is John Daly II, son of John Daly who signed with Arkansas.
Here’s a look at our top classes and individuals for the Class of 2021:
1. Arizona State: Josele Ballester, Kiko Coelho, Preston Summerhays
2. Vanderbilt: Gordon Sargent, Jackson Van Paris
3. Duke: Kelly Chinn, Luke Sample, John Peters
4. Oklahoma State: Tiger Christiensen, Jordan Wilson
5. Auburn: Cole Davidson, Frankie Harris, Brendan Valdes and Evan Vo
6. Oklahoma: Garrett Engle, Andrew Goodman, Hudson Weibel
7. Wake Forest: Collin Adams, Scotty Kennon, Marshall Meisel
8. USC: Gavin Aurilia, Jackson Rivera, Junyi Tang
9. UCLA: Evan Chien, Omar Morales, Pablo Ereno Perez
10. Tennessee: Laurent Desmarchias, Lance Simpson
We welcome Jose Luis Ballester!
"We've known about Jose for a lot of years. It is so exciting that this day has finally arrived to officially welcome him as a Sun Devil. Jose is a world-class athlete and golfer and the top player in Europe under 18 years old." -- @MattThurmond pic.twitter.com/YHte1i1qMR
— Sun Devil Men's Golf (@sundevilmgolf) November 11, 2020
1. Preston Summerhays, Arizona State
2. Josele Ballester, Arizona State
3. Kelly Chinn, Duke
4. David Ford, North Carolina
5. Gordon Sargent, Vanderbilt
6. Jackson Van Paris, Vanderbilt
7. Brendan Valdes, Auburn
8. Andrew Goodman, Oklahoma
9. Cohen Trolio, LSU
10. Maxwell Ford, Georgia
11. Lucas Fallotico, Florida Gulf Coast
12. Christoph Bleier, Colorado State
13. Laurent Desmarchias, Tennessee
14. Gustav Andersson, Texas Tech
15. Alex Yang, Stanford
16. Cameron Adam, Northwestern
17. Luke Sample, Duke
18. Tiger Christiansen, Oklahoma State
19. Scotty Kennon, Wake Forest
20. Miguel Leal, Florida
21. Jordan Wilson, Oklahoma State
22. Kiko Coelho, Arizona State
23. Pablo Ereno Perez, UCLA
24. Andrew Swanson, Clemson
T-25. Benjamin Reuter, Georgia Tech
T-25. John Daly II, Arkansas
1. Stanford: Yu Wen Lu, Caroline Sturdza, Rose Zhang
2. Arizona: Carolina Melgrati, Lilas Pinthier
3. South Carolina: Hannah Darling, Louise Rydqvist
4. USC: Joyce Jin, Cindy Kou
5. Wake Forest: Carolina Lopez Chacarra
6. Virginia: Megan Propeck, Amanda Sambach
7. Texas: Bohyun Park
8. Virginia Tech: Symone Henriques, Ginne Lee, Kyrsten Shawah
9. Auburn: Morgan Jones, Casey Weidenfeld, Carys Worby
10. Duke: Sophia Bae, Rylie Heflin
— Texas Women's Golf (@TexasWGolf) November 12, 2020
1. Rose Zhang, Stanford
2. Cindy Kou, USC
3. Carolina Lopez Chacarra, Wake Forest
4. Hannah Darling, South Carolina
5. Bohyun Park, Texas
6. Carolina Melgrati, Arizona
7. Amanda Sambach, Virginia
8. Lilas Pinthier, Arizona
9. Zoe Campos, UCLA
10. Clemence Martin, Oklahoma State
11. Ester Fagersten, Florida
12. Louise Rydqvist, South Carolina
13. Calynne Rosholt, Arizona State
14. Ffion Tynan, Arkansas
15. Caroline Sturdza, Stanford
16. Natacha Host Husted, Ole Miss
17. Casey Weidenfeld, Auburn
18. Symone Henriques, Virginia Tech
19. Joyce Jin, USC
20. Antonia Matte, Baylor
21. Sophia Bae, Duke
22. June Song, Iowa State
23. Meagan Winans, Oklahoma
24. Chiara Horder, Texas Tech
T-25. Ginne Lee, Virginia Tech
T-25. Zoe Allaux, UCF
College Golf Talk
In this College Golf Talk podcast, Burko and Brentley recap the fall season and make some predictions for the upcoming spring.
Now on the schedule...
Two new college events were announced this week: the Jackson T. Stephens Cup and PXG Collegiate Golf Showcase.
The Stephens Cup will debut Oct. 18-20, 2021, at the Alotian Club in Roland, Arkansas, and will feature a 16-team field comprised of eight men’s and eight women’s teams. While the inaugural field as not set, invites will go out to the top teams in the Golfstat and Golfweek rankings. The format will include 54 holes of stroke play followed by a match-play round.
The event, which is named after former Augusta National chairman Jackson T. Stephens, will move to Seminole Golf Club in 2022 and then to Trinity Forest in 2023.
“Our goal is to create a distinctive and highly-competitive collegiate tournament that is comprised of tomorrow’s PGA Tour and LPGA stars playing some of the country’s premier golf courses,” said tournament chairman Warren Stephens, son of Jackson Stephens. “Dad truly believed that golf instilled life lessons and built character, especially when started young. Therefore, he would be very humbled and proud that this tournament is named in his honor.”
— PGA TOUR University (@PGATOURU) November 17, 2020
The PXG Collegiate Golf Showcase is slated for next month at Scottsdale National in Arizona. The Dec. 16 event will be televised on Golf Channel and feature four college golfers ranked highly in PGA Tour University along with four celebrities, who will be split into four-man teams, Team Semper Fi and Team Rubicon, and compete in a scramble skins shootout.
The $1 million prize will be donated to military foundations, the Semper Fi and America’s Fund and Team Rubicon.
This year’s field will include Oklahoma’s Garett Reband, Oklahoma State’s Austin Eckroat, SMU’s Mac Meissner and Arizona’s Trevor Werbylo, as well as celebrities Darius Rucker, Rob Riggle, Jerome Bettis and Brian Urlacher. Each college player’s college coach will caddie.
These young athletes represent exceptional talent and the future of professional golf,” PXG owner Bob Parsons said. “Helping them hone their skill by providing an additional playing opportunity and a personal mentorship experience through the PXG College Golf Showcase at Scottsdale National is something we are pleased and proud to support.”
Also, on the amateur front, the Sea Island Women's Amateur will debut next summer. Set for July 27-29, the 84-player tournament will be played on Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course and give the St. Simons Island area a high-level women's event to go along with the annual Jones Cup.
Vanderbilt senior John Augenstein was one of two amateurs to make the cut last week at the 84th Masters, though he fell just short of nabbing low-amateur honors at Augusta National.
Augenstein shot 69-72-75-75 to finish T-55 at 3 over, five shots behind former Georgia Tech golfer Andy Ogletree, who beat Augenstein in the final of the 2019 U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst.
“My first Masters, I’ll look back on it positively, of course,” Augenstein told reporters last Sunday. “It still was an awesome week and I enjoyed almost every second of it. So, you take some positives from it, but I’m certainly disappointed with how I played on the weekend. …I thought I played some solid golf for 36 holes. And unfortunately, I just played poorly the last 36. I hit it not well and I messed up in some bad spots and made three doubles and a triple, and when you do that, you’re never going to have a good score or play well. So, I was just putting myself in some bad positions and just kind of compounded that when I was in there.”
Augenstein, who is still undecided whether or not he will play for the Commodores this spring, didn't get a trip to Butler Cabin, but he did receive a nice boost in the latest PGA Tour University rankings, jumping from sixth to fourth, which has him in position to be one of five players who get Korn Ferry Tour status next summer.
Here's a look at the new top 25:
1. John Pak, Florida State
2. Chun An Yu, Arizona State
3. Davis Thompson, Georgia
4. John Augenstein, Vanderbilt
5. Austin Eckroat, Oklahoma State
6. Sandy Scott, Texas Tech
7. Garett Reband, Oklahoma
8. McClure Meissner, SMU
9. Quade Cummins, Oklahoma
10. Trevor Werbylo, Arizona
11. Jovan Rebula, Auburn
12. Hunter Eichhorn, Marquette
13. Kyle Hogan, Texas Tech
14. Tim Widing, San Francisco
15. Devon Bling, UCLA
16. Cooper Dossey, Baylor
17. Michael Feagles, Illinois
18. Jack Trent, UNLV
19. Matthias Schmid, Louisville
20. Christopher Gotterup, Rutgers
21. Spencer Ralston, Georgia
22. Graysen Huff, Auburn
23. Mason Andersen, Arizona State
24. John Murphy, Louisville
25. Hunter Wolcott, Tennessee
For the full ranking, click here.