Thadd Obecny II of Wheeling, W.Va., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Central Florida in 2014.
He made unofficial visits to Ohio State, Kent State, Vanderbilt, South Florida and Duke.
The Wheeling Park High School junior chose UCF because of “its great golf program and academics, including the best of weather conditions for golf.”
Obecny had seven top-15 finishes in 2012, including a victory at the West Virginia Junior Match Play Championship.
Grant Hirschman of Collierville, Tenn., gave a verbal commitment to play college golf at Oklahoma. Hirschman made unofficial visits to Ole Miss, Tennessee, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Memphis and Auburn.
The St. George’s Independent School junior felt that the overall support from Oklahoma made it the best fit for him.
“I got great vibes from both coaches (head coach Ryan Hybl and assistant Blake Smart) that OU was the place for me and the place that can help further the development of my game,” Hirschman said. “I really liked the campus and the campus atmosphere that I received.”
He also liked the facilities, especially the Nike Oven, which is nearby.
Hirschman has five top-5 AJGA finishes, including three in 2012. He won the Tennessee Division II Class A state championship as a freshman in 2011 and this past fall as a junior.
Matthew Perrine of Austin, Texas, has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Auburn in 2014.
Perrine will graduate from Westlake High School.
He made unofficial visits to Arizona, Arkansas and SMU.
“The Auburn campus, athletic training facilities, commitment to its golf program and overall family atmosphere were very special and definitely stood out in many ways,” said Perrine. “Both coach Nick Clinard and Evan Osteen are equally important; they are great people that I look forward to working with. As coaches, they have developed Auburn into one of the nation’s top golf programs, and I know that Auburn is definitely the best place for me to combine an excellent education with an excellent golf program in one of the nation’s strongest athletic conferences, the SEC.”
In 2012, Perrine finished in the top 10 at the Southern Junior Championship and the AJGA’s Goodman Network Junior at Traditions. He was also named to the HP Scholastic Honor Roll.
Brian Carlson of Madison, Conn., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Purdue in 2014. He will graduate from Daniel Hand High School.
Carlson also visited Virginia, Virginia Tech, Auburn, Connecticut and Boston College before committing to Purdue.
“The academic program I’m interested in is outstanding, and the university course and practice facility is one of the best in the country,” Carlson said. “With the combined knowledge of all four coaches, my game will certainly be elevated to the next level. It’s also important for me to know the coaches have faith in me as a person and will help me succeed on and off the golf course.”
Carlson had three top 10s in three AJGA events in 2012. He won the Killington Junior Golf Championship by 11 shots and finished second at the Genesis Junior Open. In 2012, he tied the club record at Clinton Country Club with an 8-under 64.
Patrick Albanesi of Avon, Conn., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Boston College in 2014. He spent his first two years of high school at Avon Old Farms but now attends the Hank Haney International Golf Academy in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Albanesi visited Virginia, Wake Forest, St. John’s, Connecticut and North Carolina before deciding to become an Eagle.
“Boston College is a school that I could play in tournaments right away while still playing against some of the best amateurs in the country,” Albanesi said. “Also, academics are very important to me, and getting into the Carroll School of Management played a large part in my decision to attend BC.”
He also fell in love with the campus and got along with the coaches right away.
Albanesi won the 2012 Golfweek New England Invitational at Blue Hill. He won his first AJGA qualifier by four shots for the AJGA Killington Junior Golf Championship, and then finished fifth in that tournament.
Nick Hardy of Northbrook, Ill., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Illinois in 2014. He is a junior at Glenbrook North High School.
Hardy also visited Northwestern, Iowa and Arizona before deciding on Illinois.
“I chose Illinois because Coach (Mike) Small will give me the best chance to make it to the next level and be able to achieve success in college golf,” Hardy said. “It also provides a great education.”
Hardy tied for second at the Jones Cup Junior Invitational and made it to the Round of 64 at the U.S. Junior Amateur. He tied the course record at Crystal Downs Country Club in Frankfort, Mich., with a 5-under 65.
Frank Garber, who is ranked No. 28 in the Class of 2014, has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Washington. Garber also made unofficial visits to Stanford, California, Northwestern, UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon State and Oregon.
“I chose Washington because I know I have the best chance to become the best player I can be, and I know Coach (Matt) Thurmond will be able to do that for me,” said Garber, a junior at Juanita High School in Kirkland, Wash.
Garber cited Washington's national prominence – the Huskies are No. 6 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings and what he called "one of the most competitive schedules in college golf" as keys to his selection.
"They also have amazing practice facilities and get to play at the best courses in Washington state,” he said.
Garber recently won the WIAA 3A High School State Championship, finished T-13 at the Callaway Junior World Championship, had two top-5 finishes in AJGA events this year and was awarded WSGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year and WJGA Player of the Year.
John Oda of Honolulu has committed to play college golf at UNLV in 2014. Oda is a junior at Moanalua High School.
He made no other unofficial visits to schools, but he knew UNLV was the right choice for him.
“My attraction to UNLV was its premier golf program, and its distinguished leadership between coach Dwaine Knight and assistant coach JC Deacon,” Oda said.
In 2012, Oda won the Hawaii State Amateur Championship and the David Ishii Hawaii School State Championship. He placed fifth at the Callaway Junior World Championships and made it to the Round of 64 at the U.S. Junior Amateur. Oda played in the PGA Tour’s Sony Open.
Shintaro Ban of San Jose, Calif., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at UNLV in 2014. He is a junior at Archbishop Mitty High School.
Ban said the main reason he chose UNLV is because the golf program is one of the best in the country, especially when it’s in the hands of coach Dwaine Knight.
“The practice facilities are superior,” Ban said. “I really hope that the golf program can improve my game and take my game to the next and top level.”
Ban won the Junior Golf Association of Northern California championship match-play event. He helped Northern California capture the 2012 Junior America’s Cup. Ban was a co-medalist for the U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier at Cherry Hills.
Theo Humphrey has given a verbal commitment to Vanderbilt for the fall of 2014. Humphrey also made unofficial visits to Auburn, Wake Forest, Virginia, Georgia Tech and Northwestern.
Humphrey chose to become a Commodore because of Vanderbilt’s golf and academic traditions.
“I believe in Coach (Scott) Limbaugh and trust that he will be able to take my game to the next level and help me achieve my goals,” Humphrey said. “I also have confidence in Coach (Dusty) Smith. He really knows my game and the things I need to work on”
Humphrey, of Greenwich, Conn., won the 2012 AJGA Philadelphia Junior, his second career AJGA title. He has had three other top-10 finishes in AJGA events in his career.
Benjamin Arnett of Webster, Texas, has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at the University of Houston in 2014. He currently attends J. Frank Dobie High School in Houston, Texas.
Arnett looked at Army Academy, Texas-San Antonio, Texas-Pan American, Columbia, Central Florida, Liberty, Rice, Arkansas, Kansas, Charlotte and Notre Dame.
After much consideration, Arnett chose Houston because it was both appealing on an academic and athletic level.
“The first reason was because it is one of only seventeen schools in the United States that offers petroleum engineering,” said Arnett. “The fact that it is close to home made it very appealing as well.
“On an athletic level, they are turning into a very high output program. Both Coach Dismuke and Hill are both extremely proficient and very experienced.”
Arnett won the AJGA BilliardFactory.com Junior and the HP Byron Nelson Junior Championship. He tied for third at the Lanny Wadkins Junior Championship. He is a three-time letterman at Dobie High School.
William Gordon, ranked No. 17 in the Class of 2015, has committed to Vanderbilt.
Gordon, a native of Davidson, N.C., is a sophomore at the Cannon School in Concord, N.C. He most recently finished seventh at the Golfweek East Coast Junior Invitational at Celebration Golf Club in Celebration, Fla.
Other highlights this year include wins at the Southern Junior in Dallas, Golf Pride/AJGA Qualifier in Pinehurst, N.C., and IJGT event at the Dormie Club in West End, N.C.
He also notched runner-up finishes at the U.S. Teen World Championship in Pinehurst N.C., and the Ballantyne Junior in Charlotte, N.C., a third-place finish at the Joe Cheves Junior in Morganton, N.C., a fifth-placing showing at the Jimmy Anderson Junior in Jacksonville, N.C., and a ninth-place finish at the North/South Junior in Pinehurst, N.C.
Gordon was also named to the North Carolina All-State first team after finishing fourth at the state tournament as a freshman.
Connor Smith of Birmingham, Ala., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Middle Tennessee State in 2014. He attends Spain Park High School.
Smith made other unofficial visits to Auburn, Clemson, Kennesaw State, Alabama, South Alabama and Mississippi State before choosing Middle Tennessee State.
“I picked MTSU because I love the place (town and campus), the people that work there and especially coach Whit Turnbow,” said Smith, No. 42 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings' Class of 2014.
“I also liked the courses that they play, especially The Grove, which is their new home course. It is awesome. MTSU is the only university I visited where I came away knowing in my mind, my heart, and in my gut that it is a perfect fit for me, and I can’t wait to get there to play for the team and Coach Turnbow.”
In 2012, Smith won back-to-back AJGA tournaments, at the E-Z-GO Vaughn Taylor Championship and the AJGA Junior at Southwind. He also won the Bradley Johnson Memorial Tournament.
Wes Artac of Kingwood, Texas, has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Texas Tech in 2014. He attends Kingwood High School.
“Head coach Greg Sands and assistant coach Jeff Jenkins stood out to me as having great character and commitment," Artac said. "They will be terrific mentors. Tech has a brand new golf facility, including a team-only center. The Rawls course is highly rated and will host the 2015 NCAA regionals. I also just loved the atmosphere at Tech.
“I can’t wait to be a Red Raider and get an education there,” Artac said.
Artac had two top-5s and one top-10 in AJGA tournaments this year. He also won the Texas State Junior Championship.
Matt Williams of Calgary, Alberta, has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Houston in 2014. He attends Bishop Carroll High School.
Williams made unofficial visits to Washington and Oregon State but said he chose Houston because of the opportunity to play for coaches Jonathan Dismuke and Chris Hill. Three of his soon-to-be Houston teammates also are from Canada.
“(Coach Dismuke and Coach Hill) have incredible knowledge of the short game, and will be the right people in assisting me to be successful playing college and then professional golf,” Williams said. “I strongly believe Houston will provide me with every opportunity to be successful both on and off the golf course.”
Williams has been named to the 2013 Team Canada Development Squad and is the top-ranked Canadian in the Golfweek Boys Rankings. He won the Golf Canada Ontario Future Links and Alberta Junior. Williams also placed fourth at the Callaway Junior World Championships.