Top junior Horsfield verbally commits to Florida
It was a good day to be a Florida Gator.
Not only did UF advance to the Final Four in men's basketball with a 62-52 victory over Dayton, the the school also verbally landed maybe the most prized 2015 men's golf recruit.
Sam Horsfield, No. 7 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings and third in the Class of 2015, told coach Buddy Alexander and the Gators that he plans on joining them in the fall of 2015.
He cannot sign his national letter of intent until November.
"It's only an hour and a half from my house," said Horsfield, who is ranked 15th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. "It was the right place for me to go. I'll improve my golf by going there. Buddy is a great coach. He knows what he is doing, and he'll help me get better."
Horsfield, 17, chose Florida after also receiving attention from Florida State, Arizona, LSU and Oklahoma State.
The Davenport, Fla., resident has blazed his own trail as a junior golfer, choosing mostly to play against top amateur fields instead of traveling with the AJGA. He won the New Year's Invitational in January after having won the Florida State Amateur by an eye-opening 11 shots in 2013, becoming the event's youngest winner in 96 years.
He also shot a 61 in a U.S. Amateur Public Links qualifier in 2013 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur.
Horsfield has even beaten PGA Tour star Ian Poulter in a nine-hole match, and Poulter has gone on to tout his fellow Englishman many times on Twitter.
"It's nothing against the AJGA, but I think they mostly get players ready for college, but I feel that if you are good enough, the schools will come find you," said Horsfield, who added that he intends to play two AJGA tournaments this year.
Horsfield is excited to join two other big 2015 commitments at UF: Jorge Garcia (No. 8 by Golfweek, fourth in Class of 2015) and Kristian Caparros (No. 44/No. 17) also verbally committed.
"It's going to be really good, to practice with great players every day," Horsfield said. "Right now, I practice mostly on my own. It'll be great to practice with great players."
Horsfield, a native of Manchester, England, moved to the U.S. at age 4. He jumped into the national spotlight after holding the 18- and 36-hole leads at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley in 2013.
"It was my spark last year, I played pretty good (in 2013)," said Horsfield, who will next play at the Terra Cotta Invitational on April 4-6 in Naples, Fla. "It got me going."
Little did he know at the time, but it led him to Gainesville, Fla., a solid reward for the bold choice to follow his own path.
– Brentley Romine contributed to this report