Select freshman making impact as upperclassmen dominate
The list of candidates for men’s freshman of the year is a short one. College golf is being dominated by upperclassmen. In all, 21 of the top 25 players in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings are juniors or seniors, and only three are freshmen.
Oklahoma State’s Casey Wittenberg, ranked 11th, is the leading rookie. In five starts, Wittenberg is averaging 71.07 and has finished no worse than 14th, with a top finish of fourth.
Wittenberg, Oklahoma’s Anthony Kim (20th) and Georgia’s Brendon Todd (25th) are three of only 10 freshmen ranked in the top 100.
Kim began the spring No. 120 in the rankings, but his surprise victory at the TaylorMade/ Waikoloa Intercollegiate in Hawaii and two other top-3 finishes have quickly vaulted him 100 spots.
Todd, who finished his final year of junior golf ranked No. 2 in the Golfweek/Titleist Junior Rankings, is improving his numbers this spring. His best finish in three starts during the fall was a tie for 18th. In as many starts this spring, he has two top 10s.
Todd’s play has been no surprise to Georgia coach Chris Haack.
“He played pretty well in some amateur events and had an impressive junior record,” Haack said. “As a freshman, you always wonder because it is a different atmosphere for them. You are not necessarily playing for yourself, you are playing for the team. And he has not been bothered by that.”
Oklahoma State, with Wittenberg and Tyler Leon, and Georgia Tech, with Roberto Castro and Kevin Larsen, are the only schools with more than one freshman in the top 100.