Golfweek’s preseason top 10 individuals: Men
1.) Patrick Cantlay
2010-11 Golfweek rank: 1
Don’t expect a sophomore slump from this talented Bruin. After earning national Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year honors last season with one of the most dominant freshman seasons in history, Cantlay might have had an even better summer season. He posted four top 25s in four PGA Tour starts: T-21 at the U.S. Open (low amateur), T-24 at the Travelers (including a second-round 60 to lead after 36 holes), T-20 at the AT&T National and T-9 at the RBC Canadian Open. He also won the Southern California Amateur and was runner-up at the Western Amateur and U.S. Amateur. All this after posting four victories as a freshman, including the NCAA West Regional title, and finishing runner-up by a shot at the NCAA finals. Cantlay has a complete game, and can go low at any time.
2.) Peter Uihlein
Oklahoma State, senior
2010-11 Golfweek rank: 2
A two-time first-team All-American and winner of the 2011 Ben Hogan Award, Uihlein has a well-rounded game and shotmaking skills. Uihlein, who has six career victories – including two last season – would like to make a run at Lindy Miller’s school-record victory total (11).
3.) Chris Williams
2010-11 Golfweek rank: 20
A second-team All-American last season, when he notched 13 top-20 finishes in 14 starts, including seven top 10s and a victory at the Oregon Duck Invitational. He kicked his game into high gear this summer with victories at the Sahalee Players and Pacific Coast amateurs.
4.) James White
Georgia Tech, senior
2010-11 Golfweek rank: 10
Had eight top 10s, including victories over strong fields at the U.S. Collegiate and Puerto Rico Classic, and finished second at the NCAA East Regional and T-8 at NCAA finals. White had a solid summer with a second at the Northeast Am, T-5 at the Players Am and T-8 at Sunnehanna.
5.) Andrew Yun
2010-11 Golfweek rank: 7
A first-team All-American, Yun carried the Cardinal from start to finish, placing as the low team scorer in nine of his 11 starts. He had seven top 10s, including a victory at The Prestige at PGA West. and a pair of seconds. Summer results include T-9 at Players and final eight at Western Amateur.
6.) Luke Guthrie
2010-11 Golfweek rank: 9
Came into his own last season, stepping out of teammate Scott Langley’s shadow. Guthrie finished first at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational, Robert Kepler Collegiate, Big Ten Championship and NCAA Central Regional, to earn first-team All-American honors. He tied for 13th at the NCAA Championship.
7.) Blayne Barber
2010-11 Golfweek rank: 17
An extremely consistent performer, the second-team All-American finished in the top 15 in nine of 10 starts last season, including six top 5s and a T-1 at the Bridgestone Collegiate. Strong finishes at the Northeast (third) and Southern (fifth) amateurs.
8.) Cory Whitsett
2010-11 Golfweek rank: 15
One of the country’s top freshmen last season, when he posted five top 10s in 10 starts, averaged 71.39 and was a second-team All-American. Among his four top 5s was a victory at the Linger Longer.
9.) Jordan Russell
Texas A&M, senior
2010-11 Golfweek rank: 18
A former walk-on, Russell has more than earned his scholarship for the Aggies. Posted seven top 10s, including a victory at the Topy Cup and runner-up finishes at Southern Highlands and the Aggie Invitational. Semifinalist at U.S. Amateur along with top 10s at the Sunnehanna (T-4) and Players Amateur (T-9).
10.) Corbin Mills
2010-11 Golfweek rank: 116
Really stepped up his game this summer after a mediocre college season, in which he had only four top-10 showings. The question: Can he perform for the Tigers as he did when winning the U.S. Amateur Public Links and the Players Amateur in back-to-back weeks this summer?
Lee Bedford, senior, Wake Forest
Sebastian Cappelen, sophomore, Arkansas
Albin Choi, sophomore, N.C. State
Dylan Fritelli, senior, Texas
Jeff Karlsson, senior, Kennesaw State
Ben Kohles, senior, Virginia
Bryden Macpherson, junior, Georgia
Patrick Rodgers, freshman, Stanford
Pontus Widegren, junior, UCLA
Bobby Wyatt, sophomore, Alabama
Evan Beck, junior, Wake Forest
Derek Ernst, senior, UNLV
Jace Long, junior, Missouri
Hunter Hamrick, senior, Alabama
Cheng-Tsung Pan, freshman, Washington
Brinson Paolini, junior, Duke
J.J. Spaun, junior, San Diego State
Jordan Spieth, freshman, Texas
Ethan Tracy, senior, Arkansas
Harold Varner, senior, East Carolina
• • •
Golfweek’s top 10 freshmen
Name, Residence, School
1.) Patrick Rodgers, Avon, Ind., Stanford
With the best summer of any incoming freshman, could have a Patrick Cantlay-type year.
2.) Jordan Spieth, Dallas, Texas
Two U.S. Junior titles have made Spieth one of the nation’s most well-known amateurs.
3.) Cheng-Tsung Pan, Bradenton, Fla., Washington
Big-time talent showed his potential with top 20s in all but one of his 2011 amateur starts.
4.) Anthony Paolucci, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., USC
Had a quiet summer but for years has been Spieth’s top rival in the junior rankings.
5.) Justin Thomas, Goshen, Ky., Alabama
Pre-eminent ballstriker who could contend every week if his putter cooperates.
6.) Oliver Schniederjans, Powder Springs, Ga., Georgia Tech
Has all the tools, and if everything clicks, could win a few times in his first year.
7.) Denny McCarthy, Rockville, Md., Virginia
Torrid stretch in 2010 led to a Junior Ryder Cup spot, but has yet to put it all together.
8.) Curtis Thompson, Coral Springs, Fla., LSU
Lots of firepower (T-2 at 2011 Players Amateur) but needs more consistency week-to-week.
9.) Nicholas Reach, Moscow, Pa. , Georgia
Stock soars after blowout win at Sage Valley junior event and runner-up at Palmetto Am.
10.) Billy Kennerly, Alpharetta, Ga., Clemson
Late bloomer in junior ranks, but always has been a factor in AJGA invitationals.
Other frosh to watch: Wilson Bateman, San Diego State; Stephen Behr Jr., Clemson; Tyler Dunlap, Texas A&M; Jay Hwang, UCLA; Michael Johnson, Auburn; Michael Kim, California; Tom Lovelady, Alabama; Marcel Puyat, Stanford; J.D. Tomlinson, Florida; Grant Weaver, Ohio State
– Ryan Lavner