Rinko Mitsunaga has given a verbal commitment to play college golf for Georgia in the fall of 2015. Mitsunaga took no other unofficial visits but did consider Oklahoma State, Arizona and USC.
Mitsunaga, 16, of Roswell, Ga., immediately was impressed with the Georgia campus, her future teammates and head coach Josh Brewer.
“Athens is truly a great college town, and I have always wanted to go to a big school like UGA,” she said.
Mitsunaga has qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior three times and has won two AJGA tournaments: the AJGA Junior at Savannah Quarters and the AJGA Junior at Oxmoor Valley. She also qualified for the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open and finished 22nd in the Symetra Tour Classic. Mitsunaga was a semifinalist at the 2012 Women’s Trans National Amateur.
Victoria Allred of Pfafftown, N.C., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at East Carolina in 2014. She is a junior at Reagan High School.
Allred narrowed down her choices to East Carolina and Wake Forest before ultimately deciding on ECU. She also made unofficial visits to South Carolina, Virginia and Elon.
“I’m excited to have made this choice, and I just feel like it’s the best place for me,” Allred said. “I really like the coach (Kevin Williams) and the players on the team, and I love the atmosphere there.”
Allred won two major Carolina Golf Association tournaments: the Dogwood and Twin States Championship. She placed 12th in the Hank Haney IJGA Junior Open and 14th at the AJGA Junior at River Landing in 2012. Allred has a 4.0 grade-point average.
Alix Kong of West Vancouver, British Columbia, has given a verbal commitment to play college golf for Indiana beginning in the fall of 2014. Kong also made unofficial visits to Washington and Illinois, and had planned to visit North Carolina State, Oregon and Arizona before making her decision.
Kong said she made an instant connection with Indiana head coach Clint Wallman and assistant coach Lauren Harling.
“I loved everything about IU, from the gorgeous campus, the amazing facilities, the highly ranked Kelley Business School and the Spirit of Indiana approach to athletes," Kong said. "I am so excited to be a Hoosier and part of a great team where I hope to be able to make a difference."
Kong has been the captain of the Collingwood High School senior golf team for the past two seasons, and has played on the team since seventh grade. She was fifth at the 2011 Arizona Silver Belle, and has played on two Junior America’s Cup teams. She has three top-10 finishes in AJGA events.
Nicole Morales of South Salem, N.Y., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf for Alabama, the defending national champion. Morales had narrowed her decision to Georgia, North Carolina, Vanderbilt and Alabama.
Morales, who is Golfweek's third-ranked player in the Class of 2014, drew a bevy of college coaches during the summer’s top junior events. She delivered a tough match against World No. 1 amateur Lydia Ko in the third round of match play at the U.S. Junior before falling, 3 and 2. Morales played for the East team at the Wyndham Cup, and won the 2011 Polo Golf Junior Classic, the only match-play event on the AJGA schedule.
Morales said her decision ultimately came down to the coaching staff. She’s excited to play for Alabama head coach Mic Potter.
“He reminds me of my dad, who is very soft spoken,” she said. “I think I would improve my game under his guidance.”
Morales also was sold on Alabama’s practice facilities and the academic opportunities.
Morales is the incoming player representative to the AJGA Board of Directors, and was a first-team Rolex All-American for 2012.
Emily Gilbreth of Bellaire, Texas, has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at the University of Houston in 2013. She will be part of the newly established UH Women’s Golf Team.
She will compete as an individual at tournaments during the 2013-14 season, and then the team will debut during the 2014-15 campaign.
"I’m excited to be part of a new program," said Gilbreth. "Actually, I never thought I would have a chance to play college golf in my hometown of Houston, and out of the nowhere UH decides to start a golf team.”
“I picked UH because of their outstanding golf facilities, amazing support staff, and coaches with the ability to build a winning program," said Gilbreth.
Gilbreth won numerous high school, local and regional events, including the 2012 Texas High School 5A Region III Championship, the 2012 IJGT Dupage Classic, and the 2011 Golfweek Ranked TJGT/HGA “Major” at Redstone.
Bailey Tardy has given a verbal commitment to play college golf for Georgia. The Norcross, Ga., native also made unofficial visits to Clemson and Ole Miss before making her decision.
Tardy calls attending Georgia a lifelong dream. When she was younger, she imagined she’d play soccer for the Bulldogs. Then, as an 11-year-old, she picked up golf.
“I would have never guessed that four years later I would have the opportunity to play golf at my dream school,” Tardy said. “I loved everything about Georgia - the new coaches, the teammates, the amazing facilities, the academics and the awesome campus. It’s close to my house, which is a big plus, and my grandmother lives in Athens. Coach (Josh) Brewer has big plans for the UGA program, and I am excited to be a part of it.”
Tardy led her high school, Greater Atlanta Christian School, to the 2012 Georgia AA State Championship as she won the individual title. She also won two AJGA titles in the past year: the Junior at River Landing and Junior All-Star Ocala.
Emily Campbell of Carrollton, Texas, has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Texas A&M in 2015.
Campbell attends Spring Creek Academy in Plano, Texas, but also lives part-time in Fort Worth, at the Jim McLean Junior Academy.
She made other unofficial visits to LSU, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Oklahoma State, in addition to visiting Texas A&M several times during the past two years.
“Texas A&M will offer me the perfect combination of academics, a collegiate environment and golf environment,” Campbell said. “I just feel like I am home when I’m at A&M. I love the campus, the traditions and the golf facilities.”
In 2012, Campbell had four top-10 AJGA finishes. Her best AJGA finish was a solo third place at the Webb Simpson Junior Championship. She was the runner-up at the Golfweek West Coast Invitational, and also has won numerous times on the Texas Junior Golf Tour.
Roberta Liti has verbally committed to Arizona State for the fall of 2014. Liti, a native of Siena, Italy, made no official visit to any other school.
Liti will graduate from Liceo Scientifico Alezzsandro. She is excited to play at Arizona State because of a recommendation from Giulia Molinaro, a friend and former Sun Devils player.
“Arizona State has an amazing golf program and history of the school is unbelievable,” Liti said. “I really like the coaches and all the my future teammates, too.”
In 2012, Liti finished fourth at the European Team Championship. She competed in the recent Women’s World Amateur Team Championship for Italy and finished in a tie for 61st. She also won the under-18 Italian championships.
Lauren Stephenson of Lexington, S.C., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Clemson. Stephenson, Golfweek's No. 12-ranked junior golfer in the Class of 2015, attends Lexington High School and made other unofficial visits to Georgia and Tennessee.
“When I visited Clemson, I fell in love with the campus, facilities and coach J.T. Horton," Stephenson said. "I really liked how the golf facilities are on campus and everything is so close, making it easier to get to practice. I am also excited about the players that are already committed. I think Coach Horton is putting together a championship team, and I am looking forward to being a part of it."
Clemson's women's program will debut in the fall of 2013.
“I am excited about making history at Clemson as part of a brand new program," Stephenson said. "We will set records that the players who come after us will try to break.”
Stephenson won the 2012 AJGA Golf Pride Junior Classic, and added third-place finishes at the AJGA Girls Championship and the AJGA Hank Haney IJGA Junior Open. She was featured in the Dec. 12 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine's "Faces in ...
Maty Monzingo has given a verbal commitment to play for Texas State in the fall of 2013. Monzingo is a senior at Byron Nelson High School in Trophy Club, Texas.
Monzingo also took unofficial visits to SMU, Texas A&M, Stephen F. Austin and Oklahoma, but decided on Texas State because it felt like a good fit. She said she fell in love with the campus, location and the weather, and is excited to play for head coach Mike Akers.
“He is really upbeat, a great recruiter, and is a neat guy,” Monzingo said. “He is intense, success-driven and passionate about having Texas State be the top-ranked team in the country.”
Monzingo recently was the low junior qualifier at the Texas Women’s Amateur. She was the runner-up at the Texas UIL 4A State High School Championship.
Katie Page, who plays for Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville, Ky., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf for SMU. Page is Golfweek’s top-ranked junior girl in Kentucky. She also made unofficial visits to Kentucky, Louisville, Illinois, Northwestern and Florida State.
Page said she chose SMU because it was a good fit academically and for golf.
“I also feel very comfortable with Coach (Jeanne) Sutherland, and I’m honored to be a part of the team she is building at SMU,” Page said. “With her knowledge and passion for the game, SMU’s top-notch facilities, and the great weather in Dallas, I believe I’ll have all of the resources I need to be successful on and off the course.”
Page helped lead her high school team to the 2011 Kentucky State Championship. She was second at the North & South Junior earlier this summer and fifth at the Bubba Conlee. Page also had two top-10 finishes this year in AJGA events, and four last year.
Isabella Skinner has given a verbal commitment to first-year Georgia head coach Josh Brewer. Skinner, who plays for West Forsyth High School in Cumming, Ga., will join the Bulldogs' roster in the fall of 2014.
Skinner also took unofficial visits to North Carolina, Auburn and Illinois. Her decision came down to Georgia and North Carolina.
“The decision was difficult for me because all of the programs I visited were amazing,” Skinner said. “In the end, my excitement about Coach Brewer’s vision for the program, the incredible facilities at Georgia and it being close to my family help to make my decision.”
Skinner advanced to match play at the U.S. Girls’ Junior earlier this summer before falling in the first round. She won the HJGT Chateau Elan Junior Shootout and the HJGT Upstate Junior Classic earlier this year, and won last year’s AJGA Junior All-Star at Hilton Head. Skinner had two aces in the final round of the 2012 Carolinas-Georgia Junior Championship to finish second.
Brooke McDougald has given a verbal commitment to play golf for TCU in the fall of 2015. McDougald made her decision after also taking unofficial visits to Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor, SMU and Texas Tech.
McDougald, a sophomore at The Woodlands High School in The Woodlands, Texas, called TCU the total package, and an especially good fit as the Horned Frogs join the Big 12.
“It’s a great school and everyone I have met there has been very friendly,” she said. “I really wanted to stay in Texas because I’m a true Texas girl. It’s three and a half hours from home, which is perfect, and I absolutely love the coaches.”
During her freshman year on The Woodlands’ women’s golf team, McDougald earned second-team all-state honors at the 5A level. She also qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior and finished T-61 in stroke play but lost a playoff for a spot on the match-play bracket.
Paige Lee of Folsom, Calif., has given a verbal commitment to UC Davis. Lee, ranked No. 13 in the Class of 2013, made unofficial visits to California, Arizona, UC Irvine and Oregon before deciding on UC Davis.
Lee cites the team chemistry, beautiful campus and proximity to her home as several factors that set UC Davis apart.
“My decision became crystal clear after I met with coach Anne Walker,” Lee said. “I know that Coach Walker will guide me to reach my goals and take me to the top. She’s an incredible coach and person.”
In 2012, Lee tied for third at the AJGA Under Armour/Gary Woodland Championship and finished T4 at the AJGA Winn Grips/Heather Farr Classic. Lee won the 2011 Golfweek West Coast Invitational and finised in the top 10 at the 2011 AJGA ANNIKA Invitational. In 2011, she also competed in the U.S. Womens’ Amateur and was named the Northern California Player of the Year by the JGANC.
Katie Sharp of Kendallville, Ind., has verbally committed to Michigan State for the fall of 2013. Sharp, a junior at East Noble High School, is the No. 5-ranked girl in Indiana, according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings.
Before deciding on Michigan State, Sharp also made unofficial visits to Iowa, Indiana, Kansas State, Illinois, Xavier, Ohio State, Evansville, Kentucky and Wake Forest.
“I was fortunate to make several visits to some outstanding universities, but in the end the coaches, golf program and academic opportunities at Michigan State was the best fit for me.”
Sharp won the 2011 Hoosier Junior Championship, and was medalist at the Indiana Girls Junior. She was runner-up medalist at the Women’s Western Junior and qualified for the 2010 PGA Junior.