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Top amateur golf moments of 2018, No. 14: Undefeated
Matthew Wolff (Photo illustration)
Matthew Wolff (Photo illustration)

At AmateurGolf.com, we admit to loving the amateur sector of this game for the stories, the depth of the players, the remarkable courses, the history of the tournaments and the sheer love of the game displayed by amateur golfers. As 2018 comes to a close, we’ve gathered the year’s best stories for a countdown to the end of the season. Be sure to come back each day to relive the moments that made amateur golf great this year.

Click here to see the whole list as it is revealed

It seemed appropriate that freshman Matthew Wolff was the player to drain a 15-foot birdie putt for the clinching point in Oklahoma State’s first national title in golf in more than a decade. It was a fitting end to a 10-win season for the Cowboys, and a fitting beginning for Wolff, a college-golf star in the making.

Much has been said about Wolff’s swing, a unique but powerful movement that drew attention as the national championship was televised on Golf Channel. Wolff, who hails from Agoura Hills, Calif., certainly has swagger.

That swagger has been earned. Wolff won the Phil Mickelson Award in the spring, given to the nation’s top freshman, and was Oklahoma State’s low scorer in NCAA match play. He won two of his three matches. During the regular season, he had six top-5 finishes in 13 starts. In fact, his worse finish was a T-28.

As for the swing?

Wolff has an extremely weak grip and brings the club back with minimal rotation. At the top, his hands are high and the club is pointed well across the line. His left heel comes high off the ground, a remnant of his baseball days, AmateurGolf.com contributor Sean Martin wrote from Stillwater, Okla., during national-championship week.

It’s a swing that has been refined by a social-media-savvy coach, George Gankas, who is known for having a little moxie of his own. Gankas has amassed nearly 100,000 Instagram followers by posting videos that teach players how to maximize their swing speed. Gankas, known for his flat-brim hats and SoCal skater bravado, also teaches PGA TOUR players Adam Scott, Padraig Harrington, Sung Kang and Danny Lee.

When Wolff came back to Stillwater as a sophomore, he did something that’s believed to be a first in Oklahoma State’s deep history books: go undefeated in stroke play in the fall season. (We have to give props to Golf World’s Ryan Herrington for tackling a thick Oklahoma State record book to dig up that stat.) Wolff won the Carmel Cup and Fighting Illini titles, then tied teammate Viktor Hovland for the Royal Oaks Collegiate title. Oklahoma State’s other two fall start were in match-play events.

Wolff’s swing and his quick success transcends college golf – he’s a popular topic for golf writers and golf lovers at all levels of the game. He seems to be thriving under the spotlight.

Results: NCAA Division I Championship
1IABroc EverettWest Des Moines, IA150070-70-70-71=281
2FLBrandon ManchenoJacksonville, FL120072-66-71-72=281
3ILDoug GhimArlington Heights, IL90071-69-70-72=282
T4INDylan MeyerEvansville, IN90072-69-73-69=283
T4ColombiaIvan RamirezColombia90067-72-71-73=283

View full results for NCAA Division I Championship

ABOUT THE NCAA Division I Championship

30 teams and 6 individuals not on a qualifying team make up the field for the championship of NCAA Division I women's golf.

After 72 holes of stroke play, the individual champion is crowned, and the low 8 teams advance to match play to determine the team champion.

View Complete Tournament Information

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