Fowler, Lovemark have Isleworth buzzing
Monday, February 14, 2011
WINDERMERE, Fla. - There is no doubt that at the Isleworth Intercollegiate this morning, two big names being talked about were former Oklahoma State player Rickie Fowler and former USC player Jamie Lovemark. Both had great performances at the Frys.com Open over the weekend, and players at Isleworth took a moment to think about the significance of their accomplishments.
Stanford junior Sihwan Kim believes Fowler and Lovemark’s solid play just shows that college golfers aren’t that far off talent-wise with guys on Tour.
“That was cool,” Kim said. “It proves top college players are close and are making progress right off the bat. It gives me confidence to see them do well and to prove we’re not far off.”
Kim’s teammate junior Steve Ziegler agreed, but also pointed out that Fowler and Lovemark played in several of the same fields in which he competed.
“It’s cool because Rickie Fowler played at Isleworth last year,” Ziegler said. “To see the two of them play well proves that we can compete. It was great, and I don’t think it will be the last time we see those two in the limelight.”
Even Fowler’s former teammate and AJGA rival Peter Uihlein took notice. I caught the Oklahoma State sophomore on the putting green this morning before he teed off for Round 2 and asked what impressed him the most. Uihlein’s response?
“It’s funny when you think about it. He was here last year (pointed at the No. 1 tee box) and made $440,000 yesterday. Pretty good for them.”
After talking with players, I was curious to know what a coach thought. Who better to ask than East Tennessee State coach Fred Warren, who might be the living encyclopedia of college golf?
“Doesn’t surprise me at all,” Warren said. “Best guys in college golf that are coming out, shows you college golf gets them ready. Just look at the elite players having success: Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, J.B. Holmes, Anthony Kim – these guys are playing great.”
As I stood by the tee and watched several groups tee off, it made me wonder, which one of these guys would be the next to tee it up on Tour?