College golf top transfers: Players with a chance to take a big step forward after a change of scenery in 2022

·5 min read

The transfer portal is the hottest hangout spot for student athletes these days.

Established in October of 2018, the portal, which allows players to declare their intention to transfer and begin communication with prospective schools while still on campus at their current school, has been used by athletic programs across the country, especially in college golf.

Not only do some players still have an extra year of NCAA eligibility to use due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but don’t forget the NCAA also passed a new rule in 2021 that allows players to transfer penalty-free one time in their collegiate career.

As rosters turn over ahead of the 2022-23 season, a few transfers have stood out among the rest. Here are some players who may be well equipped to take advantage of a change of scenery this season.

Coaching carousel: Coaches in new positions with something to prove in ’22

Luke Kluver

Transferred from: Kansas | Transferred to: Oklahoma

On the heels of past transfer portal successes in Norman like Jonathan Brightwell and last year’s Haskins Award winner Chris Gotterup comes Kluver, who played an integral role in Kansas’ rise up the ranks in college golf the last few seasons. In 24 starts for the Jayhawks, Kluver earned nine top-10 finishes, including three in the top five and a win at the 2021 Gopher Invitational. A team with national championship aspirations each year, Kluver’s 10-4 match play record may come in handy in the spring.

Caley McGinty

Transferred from: Oklahoma State | Transferred to: Ohio State

Caley McGinty’s roller coaster college career is back on the incline after a second transfer, this time from Oklahoma State to Ohio State after just a few months in Stillwater.

Ohio State head coach Lisa Strom coached McGinty for two years at Kent State from 2019-21 where she won both the MAC Player and Freshman of the Year awards, as well as the individual conference championship in 2021 before finishing second at the NCAA Columbus Regional, of all places.

Last season over five events at Oklahoma State, McGinty boasted a stroke average of 68.58 that led to four top-five finishes including consecutive individual wins at the Schooner Fall Classic and the Jim West Challenge.

Caley McGinty
Caley McGinty

Caley McGinty and Lisa Strom when both were at Kent State during the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club. (Photo: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

Dylan Menante

Transferred from: Pepperdine | Transferred to: North Carolina

You’ve heard the old adage, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” but Dylan Menante is doing the reverse.

North Carolina finished tied atop the leaderboard after the stroke play portion of the 2022 NCAA Championship before losing to Pepperdine, 3-2, in the match play quarterfinals. Menante, a standout player for the Waves when they won the national championship in 2021, beat UNC’s Ryan Burnett in a decisive 19-hole match and has since taken his talents from the west coast to the east coast to join the Tar Heels.

The two-time All-American and West Coast Conference Player of the Year joins a strong side in Chapel Hill and will make North Carolina one of the teams to beat this season.

Dylan Menante, Northeast Amateur
Dylan Menante, Northeast Amateur

Dylan Menante after winning the 2021 Northeast Amateur.

Ivy Shepherd

Transferred from: Clemson | Transferred to: Kentucky

Shepherd was a two-time first team All-ACC selection during her time at Clemson and was at one point riding a streak of 13 consecutive top-25 finishes. They say seeing good golf shots produces good golf shots, and Shepherd is joining a team that returns four starters, including 2021 U.S. Amateur champion Jensen Castle. The vibes are good in Lexington, and if the graduate transfer can step into a starting role and produce, the Wildcats could be a team to watch this season.

2022 Augusta National Women's Amateur
2022 Augusta National Women's Amateur

Ivy Shepherd hits the ball out of the bunker during the first practice round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur at Champions Retreat on Tuesday, March 29, 2022. (Photo: Augusta Chronicle)

Momo Sugiyama

Transferred from: Hawaii | Transferred to: Purdue

Head coach Zack Byrd isn’t the only new face for the Purdue women’s golf team this year. The Boilermakers went to the portal and picked up the talented Momo Sugiyama, who was a first team All-Big West honoree as a freshman in 2022 after helping lead Hawaii to four team titles, including its first conference championship in program history. Sugiyama set multiple school records in her lone year at Hawaii, including scoring average (73.4), total birdies (85) and rounds of par-or-better (13).

Zack Byers

Transferred from: Gardner Webb | Transferred to: South Carolina

Another player taking a step forward is Zack Byers, who had a year to remember last season for Gardner-Webb. The North Carolina native won the conference championship to earn first team All-Big South honors. He then finished T-6 at the NCAA Palm Beach Regional to become the first player in program history to qualify for the NCAA Championship. Byers added two more wins among five top-10 finishes and could be a spark for South Carolina this season.

Hugo Townsend

Transferred from: Boise State | Transferred to: Ole Miss

Hugo Townsend comes to Ole Miss after a four-year career at Boise State where he was named Mountain West Conference Golfer of the Year in 2021. The Swede finished inside the top 20 in all five of the fall events last season for Boise State, including a second place finish at the Oregon State Invitational and third place showing at the Little Rock Invitational. Not to mention he earned co-medalist honors this summer at the 2022 U.S. Amateur. In other words, don’t be surprised if he starts well once again this season.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek