Zach Tracy has given a verbal commitment to play college golf for Houston. Tracy also visited Oklahoma State, New Mexico and North Texas. He chose Houston almost immediately.
Tracy’s ties to Houston athletics run deep. His dad and grandfather played football for the Cougars, and his swing coach Marty Fleckman played golf there. Staying in the Houston area allows Tracy, from Houston, to continue his work with Fleckman.
“I think Coach (Jonathan) Dismuke and Coach (Chris) Hill are building a great program, and I want to be a part of what they are doing,” Tracy said.
Tracy plays for Seven Lakes High School in Katy, just west of Houston. He was medalist at the district and regional tournaments for Seven Lakes, and advanced to the Texas 5A State Championship as a sophomore. Tracy won the AJGA Arrowhead Junior this summer by eight shots.
Zander Lozano of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Texas San Antonio in 2014.
Lozano, a senior at Samuel V. Champion High School in Boerne, made unofficial visits and talked with Texas A&M, Liberty, Arizona, TCU and Houston before choosing UTSA.
"I picked UTSA because it's a great university, has great academics, has a great golf program and because Coach (John) Knauer is the best coach out there,” Lozano said. “We have a great relationship, and Bill Rogers (a former PGA Tour player who serves as director of golf development) is also on staff. With all that experience, UTSA was the best choice for me."
Lozano finished T-12 at the 2013 AJGA Goodman Networks Junior at Timarron. As a member of the U.S. National Junior team, he visited Scotland for match-play competition in June. He also played in the Callaway Junior World Championships and the U.S. Junior Amateur.
Mitchell Meissner has given a verbal commitment to play for Rice University. Meissner also made unofficial visits to Davidson, William and Mary, Pepperdine, San Diego and Loyola Marymount. He received offers from Davidson and William and Mary.
Meissner, from San Antonio, chose Rice because of the opportunity to play for head coach Justin Emil.
“He is an excellent role model and dedicated to growing their program,” Meissner said. “Rice is the perfect balance of golf and excellent academics.”
So far this year, Meissner has posted two top-10 finishes in AJGA events. He won the San Antonio Junior Championshp, and also led his Alamo Heights High School golf team to the 4A State Championship.
Ian Hildebrand of Purcellville, Va., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Virginia Tech in 2014.
Hildebrand, a senior at Loudoun Valley High School, also visited James Madison, William and Mary, Delaware, Penn State, Longwood and Elon before committing to Virginia Tech.
“I chose Virginia Tech for its national recognition and academic reputation,” Hildebrand said. “They have a strong, close-knit golf program led by Coach (Jay) Hardwick and Coach (Brian) Sharp who are committed to excellence and bringing out the best in each player.”
He played in the 2013 Virginia-Carolinas Team Match Play competition, in which he went 2-0-1 against the Carolinas. Hildebrand finished second at the AJGA’s William Penn Junior Championship and in the top 8 in the Virginia Match Play and Stroke Play Championships this summer.
Sam Meuret has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Iowa in 2014.
Meuret of Brunswick, Neb., also looked at Minnesota, Nebraska and Kansas.
“I felt very comfortable about Iowa City and the campus," said Meuret, a senior at Plainview High School. "They have incredible facilities, a great team, and I love both of the coaches (Mark Hankins and assistant Dan Holterhaus).”
In 2013, Meuret won the Nebraska Class C state title and the Nebraska Junior Amateur. He placed fourth at the AJGA’s Kansas Junior at Buffalo Dunes. He also qualified for match play at the U.S. Junior Amateur (Round of 64).
Kyler Dunkle of Castle Rock, Colo., has given a verbal commitment to play collegiate golf at Colorado State in 2014.
Dunkle, who attends Douglas County High School, also looked at Kansas, Denver and BYU.
“I chose CSU because of the coaches and also the atmosphere that I will get to play in,” Dunkle said. “Competing against some of the best collegiate players in the nation will be a great challenge. I am excited to start my career in college golf.”
In 2013, Dunkle placed sixth at the Colorado Junior Stroke Play Championship. He also had two top-five finishes at the FCWT at Wigwam Golf Resort and at the FCWT at Half Moon Bay.
Max Rispler has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at South Alabama in 2014.
Rispler a Forest Hills, Mich., native, spent eight months in Florida at Mike Bender Elite Academy. He looked at Michigan State, Iowa and Colorado State. It came down to Colorado State and South Alabama.
He picked South Alabama because of head coach, Ben Hannan.
“He understands golfers, he's huge into family and he saw a lot more in me than any other coach,” Rispler said. “A lot of the other coaches, I felt, saw me as a score instead of a person. He saw me as a person rather than a score. He knows that I have a ton of talent and my best golf is ahead of me.”
Rispler is a senior at Forest Hills Central. He was an all-conference and an all-state golfers as a freshman and sophomore. He has won three times on the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour since November 2012, as well as 5 top-10 finishes.
Ben Baxter has given a verbal commitment to play for SMU. Baxter, who lives in Flower Mound, Texas, also visited Houston, Arkansas, Indiana and Notre Dame.
Baxter said he liked the feel of the SMU campus, and its academic reputation also played a role in his college decision. Baxter attends a charter school in Lewisville, Texas called iSchool High.
“I believe that Coach (Josh) Gregory and Coach (Jason) Enloe are the best coaches in the nation and ones that I fully trust to improve my game,” Baxter said.
Baxter recently finished eighth at the AJGA’s Goodman Networks Junior at Traditions. He had three top-15 finishes in AJGA events in 2012, and finished T-3 at the 2011 Preseason Junior at Brickhaven.
Danny Walker has given a verbal commitment to play college golf for Virginia. Walker, of Bradenton, Fla., also made unofficial visits to Central Florida, North Florida and Notre Dame, and he considered Illinois.
“I chose the University of Virginia because of the balance between golf and academics,” Walker said. “I also really like the campus as well as the practice facilities. Coach (Bowen) Sargent is very passionate, with a lot of experience as a coach and player.”
Walker is a junior at Lake Ranch High School, and helped his team to the 2A state championship title the past two years. He won the individual state championship as a freshman in 2010.
Walker was an honorable-mention AJGA Rolex All-American in 2012, the same year he tied for second at the Western Junior.
Jamie Binns (NR, 2014) has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Cal Poly.
Binns took an unofficial visit to South Florida. Sonoma State and Point Loma Nazarene made him offers.
The San Diego native is a junior at Scripps Ranch High School.
“I chose Cal Poly because of the good academics,” Binns said. “I love the team and the coach, and the location is great."
Binns won the 2012 North County Junior Golf Toyota Cup Qualifying Series and the San Diego Junior Golf Summer Qualifying Series for Junior Worlds, which qualified him for the Junior World Championships.
Drew Jones of Decatur, Texas, has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Texas in 2016.
Jones also looked at Oklahoma State, Arizona, Oklahoma, Auburn and Michigan. He made unofficial visits to Oklahoma State and Oklahoma prior to making his decision.
The Decatur High School freshman always knew he wanted to play college golf if given the opportunity.
“I feel at home in Austin, and I have a tremendous amount of respect and trust in Coach (John) Fields and Coach (Ryan) Murphy,” Jones said. “Their values are very similar to the way I was raised, and I really feel as though I fit in there. I am really excited about joining the Longhorn family.”
In 2012, Jones had two top-five finishes and one top-10 finish in three starts on the AJGA. Jones has earned runner-up and top-5 finishes in the 2011 and 2012 Texas/Oklahoma Junior, respectively.
Taylor Funk, son of touring pro Fred Funk, has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Texas in 2014.
Funk made unofficial visits to Auburn, Alabama and North Florida before choosing Texas.
He is home-schooled but plays golf for Ponte Vedra (Fla.) High School.
“I chose Texas because I really love the coaches there,” Funk said. “I believe that the University of Texas has the best resources and facilities in college golf.
“I believe Texas is where I can improve my game the most, and I knew the moment I left the unofficial visit at Texas that Texas was where I wanted to be,” Funk added.
Funk was the 2012 St. John’s Player of the Year and first team all-county. He was the Florida High School Athletic Association 2A regional champion. He also won the Future Collegians World Tour at TPC Sawgrass and Inverrary.
Funk's father, a Maryland graduate who has won eight times on the PGA and Champions tours, coached the men's golf team at his alma mater from 1982 to 1988.
Ryan Gronlund, of Pleasanton, Calif., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at SMU in 2014.
Gronlund made unofficial visits to Oregon, California, Arizona and UC Davis.
The Foothill High School junior chose SMU based on a number of factors.
“Mainly because Coach (Josh) Gregory and Coach (Jason) Enloe made me feel the most comfortable with their coaching philosophy and desire to win,” Gronlund said.
“I felt SMU was a perfect fit for me. SMU is a great school academically, have access to great golf facilities, will be building a new world-class practice facility and golf course and the student-athlete services are the best,” he added.
In 2012, Gronlund won two FCWT events. He also placed second at the AJGA at Centennial, placed third at the AJGA Junior All-Star at Stockton and finished seventh at the AJGA Junior All-Star Invitational in Florida.
Scottie Scheffler of Dallas, Texas, has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Texas in the fall of 2014.
Scheffler is No. 3 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings, but No. 1 in the class of 2014.
The Highland Park High School junior seriously considered Stanford, Texas A&M, Georgia Tech, Georgia and Duke before ultimately deciding on Texas.
“I chose Texas because I felt the most comfortable there,” Scheffler said. “They have a great business school, a great golf history and program, and it’s relatively close to my teacher and family.”
In June 2012, Scheffler set or tied course records at two different courses in the Dallas area. He first broke Northwood Club’s course record, previously set by PGA Tour player Hunter Mahan, with a 10-under 61. Just a few days later, he tied the course record at Dallas Country Club with a 9-under 61. He shares low course honors with 2011 U.S. Amateur champion Kelly Kraft.
Scheffler tied for runner-up honors at the HP Boys Championship at Carlton Woods earlier this year. In 2012, he had four top-10 finishes in seven AJGA starts, including a runner-up finish at the Polo Golf Junior Classic ...
Back in 2012, the big news out of the class of 2016 was that No. 1-ranked Brad Dalke had given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Oklahoma. Dalke has been joined by classmate Derek Castillo in making a decision on college at an early age. Castillo has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at UNLV.
Castillo, of Yorba Linda, Calif., is a freshman at Valencia (Placentia) High School, and is an AJGA second-team Rolex All-American. He made unofficial visits to Oregon, USC, UCLA and Arizona State.
“While I could not have made a wrong choice with any of these programs, I felt that UNLV was the perfect fit for me,” Castillo said. “I really like the coaching philosophy, golf facilities and strength-training program, which I feel will maximize my potential as a golfer and person.”
Last summer he won the AJGA ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior and the 4th Annual FCG World Championship at PGA West. In September, Castillo tied for second at the Bobby Chapman Junior Invitational.