Nistrup, Shanahan among five freshmen to watch
The transition to college golf isn’t an easy one, even for the country’s top juniors. The Class of 2013 already claims two players in Golfweek’s top 50 (UCLA’s Alison Lee, No. 2, and Clemson’s Ashlan Ramsey, No. 10), but a handful of classmates have gotten a good start, too. Here are five impressive freshmen you may not have heard of but are worth remembering:
• Caroline Nistrup, LSU (Golfweek ranking: 20): The freshman from Denmark led the Tigers into the second-round lead at the Schooner Fall Classic with a 5-under 65. (A bit of LSU trivia: Nistrup became just the third player in women’s program history to shoot 65 on the par-70 Belmar Country Club in Norman, Okla.). Before that, Nistrup birdied two of her final four holes in the final round of the Cougar Classic for an even-par 72 that left her tied for 13th, the low Tiger. Nistrup and Swede Madelene Sagstrom, a junior, make a great one-two punch for the Tigers.
• Sloan Shanahan, Clemson (Golfweek ranking: 24): Teammate Ashlan Ramsey had the most recognition entering the season after a series of major summer amateur victories. Shanahan, however, has been close at Ramsey’s heels. The freshman from Suwanee, Ga., climbed into the top 25 in Golfweek’s individual rankings with a tie for second (with Ramsey) at the Cougar Classic and a third-place finish at the Lady Paladin. Shanahan and Ramsey are averaging under par through two starts in Clemson's inaugural season.
• Sirene Blair, San Diego State (Golfweek ranking: 48): Blair’s reputation was big as a junior golfer in Utah, where she was a three-time individual 5A state high school champion, but it’s continued to grow with the Aztecs. Blair has stepped in to fill Christine Wong’s shoes and leads San Diego State in scoring through its first two events. She finished in the top 6 at the Minnesota Invitational and the Dick McGuire Invitational.
• Eimi Koga, Washington (Golfweek ranking: 60): The tiny player from Honolulu found her groove for the Huskies at their home event, the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational. Koga rebounded from a first-round 80 at the demanding Sahalee Golf Club in Sammamish, Wash., and posted a second-round 5-under 67. She finished with a 76 and, at 7 over, tied for seventh. It was her first start with Washington.
• Haley Mills, Kentucky (Golfweek ranking: 122): Mills began her college career one-for-one when she beat out teammate Sarah Harris for the ‘Mo’Morial Invitational title. Mills shot 3-under 213 at Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas (site of the 2011 NCAA Women’s Championship) and was the only player under par. Mills has remained a solid counter for the Wildcats as they’ve climbed into the top 20 in Golfweek’s rankings.