GRANITEVILLE, S.C. – Buddy Alexander's announcement Tuesday that he would retire as Florida men's head coach at the end of the season surprised much of the college golf world, including the three commits from the Gators' 2015 recruiting class.
But on Wednesday at Sage Valley Golf Club, two of the commits – Sam Horsfield of Davenport, Fla., and Jorge Garcia of Miami – said they don't have plans to withdraw their commitments. The third commit, Kristian Caparros of Hollywood, Fla., is also playing in the Junior Invitational this week and plans to turn pro after he finishes high school.
"I didn't find out until (Tuesday), so it was pretty shocking," said Garcia, ranked ninth in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings. "It doesn't really change anything for me. I'm still committed with the school.
"As of right now, (assistant) coach (John) Handrigan is supposed to stay depending on who the new coach is and if he wants him there. When i find out who the coach is going to be, then I'll talk to the coach and see if he likes me, and we'll see what happens."
Jake Staiano, ranked No. 107 by Golfweek in the Class of 2015, has given a verbal commitment to play college golf for Colorado State. Staiano also considered Loyola Marymount, Oregon, Washington State, Gonzaga, San Diego and Colorado.
Staiano, a junior at Valor Christian, chose Colorado State for a number of reasons, including its proximity to his hometown of Cherry Hills Village, Colo.
“I chose CSU because I really think the coaches are unbelievable and they can help me elevate my game,” he said of head coach Christian Newton and assistant coach Bret Guetz.
Staiano won the 2013 Colorado Junior Match Play and qualified for the Junior Americas Cup. He also had three top 20s in AJGA events in 2013.
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 ...
Mason Overstreet, a member of the Class of 2016, committed to play college golf at Arkansas.
"I really like the coaches at Arkansas and their facilities are awesome and getting better with the addition of a new indoor short-game facility," Overstreet said.
Overstreet, who attends Laverne (Okla.) High School, was the 2013 Oklahoma Class 2A state individual champion and also won the 2013 Texas-Oklahoma Junior by nine strokes.
He also made visits to Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
Travis McInroe, the 48th-ranked player in the Class of 2016, committed to play college golf at Baylor.
McInroe, who is from Plano, Texas, and attends Prestonwood Christian Academy, also made visits to Arizona and Texas A&M before deciding on Baylor.
"Baylor has great coaches and facilities with a top-25 program," McInroe said. "The school is very committed to its student athletes, both athletically and academically."
McInroe's recent accomplishments include shooting a course-record 63 in the Legends Junior Tour Collegiate Preview at Baylor's home course, Ridgewood Country Club. He was also an All-Region and All-District team member, and was regional runner-up with his high school team.
Matthew Walker of Ottumwa, Iowa, has given a verbal commitment to play his college golf at nearby Iowa. Walker is ranked No. 34 in the 2015 class and the top-ranked player in the state of Iowa. He is ranked No. 112 nationally.
Walker made unofficial visits to Arizona, Texas, Iowa, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Illinois. Iowa State had made an offer and Walker was talking about possible offers with Arizona and Illinois as well.
"Iowa just seemed like the best fit for me. I get along with the coach very well and want to help them get to number one in the nation," said Walker, who added Iowa has a great school and facilities.
Last summer Walker tied for 20th at the Junior PGA Championship and placed second in Iowa high school state championship.
Will Grimmer of Cincinnati has given a verbal commitment to play golf at Ohio State beginning in the fall of 2015.
Grimmer, 16, a junior at Mariemont High School, took 10 unofficial visits before considering offers from Ohio State, North Carolina, Illinois, Indiana and Virginia Tech.
“I chose OSU because the program has everything I need to excel in college and beyond,” Will said. “The golf courses, practice facilities and resources for a student-golfer are the best I saw. I really respect Coach (Donnie) Darr and everything he is doing. Plus they play a very competitive schedule, and it is a great school academically.”
Grimmer's golf resume includes victories in the 2013 AJGA Memorial Junior at OSU's Scarlet Course and the Ohio Junior Amateur.
However, he might be best known nationally for a course-record 11-under 59 that he shot during the second round of the 2013 North & South Junior on Pinehurst No. 1 (Click here to read more on Grimmer's 59).
Patrick Martin of Hoover, Ala., has given a verbal commitment to play golf at Vanderbilt in 2015. Martin is the No. 21 class of 2015 player in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings.
The high school junior took visits to in-state schools Alabama and Auburn, along with Vanderbilt and Wake Forest before making his decision.
I chose Vanderbilt because I really like the direction in which Coach (Scott) Limbaugh has the program moving," Martin stated in an email. "He has a lot of energy, enthusiasm and high expectations for his golf program. Vanderbilt's reputation as one of the best universities in the country played an important role in my decision."
Martin was named an Honorable Mention 2013 AJGA Rolex All-American after a season in which he took medalist honors at the AJGA National Resources Partners Bluegrass Junior. He also organizes and runs a tournament that benefits the St. Vincent's Foundation in honor of his grandfather. Martin has raised more than $30,000 for the foundation over the past four years.
Katie Kim of Riverwoods, Ill., has given a verbal commitment to play golf at Boston College in 2015.
Kim, who attends Lake Forest Academy, considered Northwestern, Wisconsin, Illinois and Georgetown before committing.
"I chose Boston College because of the prestigious education I would receive and as well as being able to be a part of an amazing team," Kim stated in an email. "The coaches really believed in my potential as a college student-athelete. The golf program at BC is growing by the year, and I would love to be able to contribute to that progress."
Kim qualified for the Junior PGA Championship after winning the Junior PGA Illinois Championship in consecutive years. She also has recorded three top 10s in AJGA events and a runner-up finish at the Golfweek Midwest Junior Invitational. Kim is the No. 85 girl in the 2015 class, according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings.
Nicklaus Harrington of Chaplin, Conn., has given a verbal commitment to play golf at Connecticut in 2015.
The high school junior took a few unofficial visits before making his decision.
"It is a beautiful campus, is a great academic university, and has a fantastic golf program with a great coach. I am looking forward to improving my golf game and helping UConn golf team be something special," Harrington stated in an email.
Harrington won medalist honors at the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Division IV state golf championship last year and was the Norwich Bulletin Golfer of the Year. He also earned All-State distinctions as a sophomore.
Jimmy Hervol of Hopkinton, Mass., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Connecticut in 2015.
Hervol, a junior at Hopkinton High School, knew that UConn was the place for him after a few unofficial visits.
"UConn is a type of school I always hoped to attend," Hervol said. "The school seemed like a perfect fit for many reasons: great academics, a strong D1 golf program, a beautiful campus, a reputable athletic program and an excellent coach. I plan to strengthen my golf game and contribute to the success of the UConn golf team."
Hervol played for New England in the 2013 Team New England vs. Team Florida match at Doral. Last summer, Hervol won the Francis Ouimet Junior Championship and qualified for the Francis Ouimet Memorial. Hervol was named MVP of the Tri-Valley League and was a member of the Metrowest Daily News Golf Super Team.
Jordan Hahn of Spring Grove, Ill., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Wisconsin in 2015.
The Richmond-Burton Community High School junior didn’t make any other visits because he knew where he wanted to go and was already committed to Wisconsin.
“Attending Wisconsin was an easy decision for me, I had always been a Badger fan,” Hahn said. “The new indoor facility is top class and Coach (Michael) Burcin and Coach (Robbie) Ziegler are great coaches and I look forward to working with them. Wisconsin has a great academic reputation with a wide variety of majors.”
He placed third at the class 2A Illinois state golf tournament in 2013 and made the All Midwest Boys Team (MAJGT). Hahn was also selected as the All-Area Player of the Year in 2013.
Brett Robinson of Tustin, Calif., gave a verbal commitment to play college golf at Wisconsin in 2015.
Robinson made unofficial visits to Oregon, Loyola Marymount and Oregon State.
"Wisconsin was the perfect fit for me as a student-athlete,” Robinson said. “It has amazing facilities, great coaches and most important, it's a great school. With the facilities, I am certain I will be able to take my game to a higher level and contribute to a Big Ten Championship."
The junior at Beckman High School in Irvine, Calif., had three top-15 finishes at three AJGA events in 2013. He is a two-time Pacific Coast League first-team player and won the individual league championship by six shots as a freshman. Robinson also had six top-15 finishes in Toyota Tour Cup events.
Nolan Ray of Brentwood, Tenn., gave a verbal commitment to play college golf at Tennessee in 2015.
Ray made unofficial visits to Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Wake Forest and Tennessee before getting offers from Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Tennessee.
The junior at Brentwood High School ultimately decided on Tennessee because it was the best fit for him.
“I think Coach (Jim) Kelson and Coach (Casey) VanDamme have a great player development plan in place that will help me reach my long term goals,” Ray said. “I was very impressed with the facilities, their recruiting efforts as well as the current team members. I admire the direction that Coach Kelson has the program heading in and am very excited to get to be a part of it. Also, my swing instructor Brad Rose lives in Knoxville and after many trips for lessons, I have gotten familiar and comfortable with the city and the university. Lastly, I genuinely feel that it is a real honor to have an opportunity to play for your home state.”
In 2013, Ray had three top-10 finishes, including two third place finishes at the PGA Junior Series at Mirimichi and the AJGA Preseason Junior at Chateau Elan ...
Cole Hammer has made his college choice before deciding where he will attend high school.
Hammer, 14, of Houston, gave a verbal commitment to play college golf at Texas in 2018. The eighth-grader at River Oaks Baptist School has yet to pick a high school.
Hammer visited SMU this fall, but he focused on Texas, knowing that’s where he wants to play.
“He loves Austin, Texas, and has always wanted to go to college at UT and play on the golf team,” Gregg Hammer, Cole’s father, said in an email on behalf of his son. “The golf program at UT has a great history, and over the last several years the team has consistently been at or near the top. He had several unofficial visits to UT and was very impressed with the on-campus and off-campus facilities. Most importantly, Cole really likes Coach (John) Fields and Coach (Ryan) Murphy.”
During 2013, Hammer played in 13 events. He won seven times and had five other top-5 finishes. He won five Legends Junior Tour – part of the Texas Golf Association – events and was named the Legends Player of the Year in the 14-and-under division. Hammer also finished second at the ...