Making the grade: Freshmen of the fall

Texas freshman Brandon Stone

Men's Rankings »

RankNameSchoolRating
1Cheng Tsung PanWashington  66.95 
2Ollie SchniederjansGA Tech  67.53 
3Lee McCoyGeorgia  68.19 
4Charlie DanielsonIllinois  68.33 
5Hunter StewartVanderbilt  68.42 

Men's Team Rankings »

RankNameRatingEvents
1Illinois 68.91 
2Florida State 69.59 
3Oregon 69.67 
4UCLA 69.83 
5LSU 69.90 

Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Patrick Rodgers all had big impacts on their respective teams as freshman last season. Spieth and Thomas helped their squads reach the final match of the NCAA Championship, and Spieth's Longhorns took the title.

As great as the 2011-12 campaign was for college freshmen, this season has a chance to be just as special. Once again, Texas has a standout frosh in Brandon Stone, who is ranked third in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. As does Stanford, who boasts Englishman David Boote, who had three top-10s in the fall. Several other freshmen also made noise this fall in their first semester as collegiate athletes.

Here's a closer look at 12 (Yes, it's holiday time) of the top freshmen in the country and how they fared in their first half-season of college golf:

• • •

David Boote, Stanford

Golfweek/Sagarin rank: 18

Prerequisites: The Welshman won the Welsh Boys National U-18 Championship and was captain of the 2011 Great Britain and Ireland team at the Jaques Leglise Trophy.

First semester report: Boote racked up three top 10s in four tournaments this fall. He was T-7 at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational, T-3 at the Pac-12 Preview and T-9 at the Gifford Collegiate. His fourth start wasn’t too bad, either, as he finished T-13 at the U.S. Collegiate. His 71.3 stroke average is second on the team behind Patrick Rodgers (70.4).

Final grade: A

• • •

Charlie Danielson, Illinois

Golfweek/Sagarin rank: 76

Prerequisites: The two-time Wisconsin state high school champion qualified for the 2012 U.S. Amateur. He also holds three course records (Krooked Kreek, New Richmond and Amery).

First semester report: Danielson played in a team-high 12 rounds and finished second on the team in stroke average (72.7). He was T-7 at the D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate, T-10 at the Wolf Run Invitational and T-12 at the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invitational. He closed his fall campaign with a T-21 showing at the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational.

Final grade: B

• • •

Jonathan Garrick, UCLA

Golfweek/Sagarin rank: 54

Prerequisites: The California boy was a first-team Rolex All-American in 2011, made the Round of 16 at the 2011 U.S. Junior, was runner-up at the 2011 Junior Players and made the semifinals at the 2012 AJGA HP Boys Invitational.

First semester report: Garrick led UCLA in two tournaments this year, finishing T-9 at the U.S. Collegiate and winning the Cal Poly Invitational.

Final grade: B+

• • •

Shun Yat Hak, Georgia Tech

Golfweek/Sagarin rank: 197

Prerequisites: The former Lake Mary Prep (Fla.) standout was a two-time, first-team Rolex Junior All-American and former winner of the HP Boys Championship and Rolex Tournament of Champions.

First semester report: Hak only played in two fall events for the Yellow Jackets. He finished T-62 at the Carpet Capital Collegiate with a three-round, 12-over 228 total. He then turned in a T-16 showing at the U.S. Collegiate, shooting 3-over 219. His 74.5 stroke average ranked seventh out of the nine players who logged rounds for Georgia Tech this fall. He shot par or better three times in six fall rounds.

Final grade: C-

• • •

Lee McCoy, Georgia

Golfweek/Sagarin rank: 98

Prerequisites: The Clarksville, Ga., native qualified for match play at the U.S. Junior twice and was a member of the East's winning Wyndham Cup team this year. He also was second at the HP Boys Championship and fifth at the Rolex Tournament of Champions this year.

First semester report: McCoy placed eighth in his college debut at the Carpet Capital Collegiate, shooting 4-under 212. He then was fourth at the Brickyard Collegiate after carding a 6-under 210 and followed that by earning four points in a loss to Stanford at the Stanford Classic, which was a match-play event.

Final grade: B

• • •

A.J. McInerney, UNLV

Golfweek/Sagarin rank: 90

Prerequisites: The Henderson, Nev., native is a former first-team Rolex All-American and won the 2011 Ping Invitational.

First semester report: McInerney played in 11 rounds for the Rebels this fall and finished third on the team with a 72.8 stroke average. His best individual finish of the fall was a T-2 showing at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational. He also had top-15s at the Gene Miranda Flacon Invitational (T-14) and the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate (T-11).

Final grade: B-

• • •

Taylor Moore, Arkansas

Golfweek/Sagarin rank: 194

Prerequisites: The two-time Oklahoma state high school champion was a second-team Rolex All-American in 2011, and finished T-5 at the Rolex Tournament of Champions and T-2 at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley this year.

First semester report: Moore, along with fellow freshman Nicolas Echavarria and senior Austin Cook, played in a team-high 14 rounds this fall. Moore was fourth on the team in stroke average (74.9). He kicked off his college career with a T-9 at the Gopher Invitational, where he shot 5-over 221. He then was T-54 at the Ping/Golfweek Preview, T-12 at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational, T-39 at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational and T-58 at the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational.

Final grade: C+

• • •

Matthew NeSmith, South Carolina

Golfweek//Sagarin rank: 247

Prerequisites: The North Augusta, S.C., native won the Rolex Tournament of Champions and FJ Invitational this year, earning a spot in the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship, and helped him capture both Rolex Player of the Year and Byron Nelson International Junior Golf Award honors.

First semester report: NeSmith played in all four of South Carolina’s tournaments this fall. He was T-19 at the Carpet Capital Collegiate, T-7 at the Rees Jones Invitational, T-67 at the AutoTrader.com Collegiate Classic and T-6 at the Wendy’s Kiawah Classic. He had three-round showings of 3 over, 4 over and 7 over this fall and finished fourth on the team with a 74.3 stroke average.

Final grade: C

• • •

Cody Proveaux, Clemson

Golfweek/Sagarin rank: 69

Prerequisites: The 2011 Rolex Player of the Year competed in the Jones Cup, Northeast Amateur and Porter Cup this summer. He also helped the East win the Wyndham Cup after sinking a par putt on the final hole. He was eighth at the Players Amateur, as well. He’s a former Junior PGA and Polo Junior Golf Classic champion.

First semester report: Proveaux’s 72.9 stroke average ranked second on the team this fall. He finished seventh at the U.S. Collegiate and had two other tops-20s at the Jerry Pate Invitational and the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational.

Final grade: B-

• • •

Jon Rahm Rodriguez, Arizona State

Golfweek/Sagarin rank: 64

Prerequisites: Arrived at Arizona State from Barrika, Spain. He is currently ranked No. 29 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

First semester report: Rodriguez became the first Sun Devils freshman to win an outright individual title since 2008 after he captured the Bill Cullum Invitational. He was also second at the Pac-12 Preview, T-15 at the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational and T-26 at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational. Of his 15 rounds this fall, six were in the 60s.

Final grade: A-

• • •

Brandon Stone, Texas

Golfweek/Sagarin rank: 3

Prerequisites: The South African was regarded by some as the top prospect in the 2012 recruiting class. He was the top amateur in his country prior to arriving at Texas.

First semester report: Stone was arguably the Longhorns best player this fall, winning the Carpet Capital Collegiate and notching top-25s at the Ping/Golfweek Preview (T-16) and Isleworth Collegiate Invitational (T-21).

Final grade: A

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