With a new college golf season approaching, we present our “Nine for ‘19” series. In the countdown to the first major weekend of college competition, we take a look at the nine best storylines for the fall. Consider this your primer for one of our favorite parts of the game.
Ricky Castillo (USGA photo)
The beauty of college golf is it’s a team sport. One player can’t win a team championship, but an infusion of talent can certainly shape a team’s season. Here are the best incoming players for some of the nation’s top teams:
Ricky Castillo, Florida (freshman)
The Californian has had some summer, and he comes out of it looking very ready for the next level of competition. Castillo was a co-medalist (but fell in the second round of match play) at the U.S. Junior. More importantly, he was also a co-medalist and quarterfinalist at the North & South Amateur, plus made it deep into match play at the Western Amateur (semifinals) and U.S. Amateur (Round of 16).
William Mouw, Pepperdine (freshman)
Mouw, in addition to Castillo, had the distinction of being in the Walker Cup conversation early in the summer. For one thing, he won three major titles in the span of roughly three months: the AJGA Ping Heather Farr Classic, the Thunder International Junior and the California Amateur. His motto in earning that last title – among the big boys in the California amateur landscape – was visualize, verbalize and realize. Mouw will have to work hard to make an impact on a stacked Pepperdine team, but he’ll have the benefit of playing a year with redshirt senior Sahith Theegala, which should also make an impact on him
Travis Vick, Texas (freshman)
Vick’s athleticism is well-documented, considering that he attracted interest from college coaches
in baseball, football and golf. His arrival in Austin has long been talked about. When you add Vick’s power into a mix of sophomores that includes Cole Hammer and twins Parker and Pierceson Coody, Texas looks awfully tough all of a sudden. In terms of Vick’s golf credentials, those come in the form of the 2018 Junior Players Amateur title and more recently, top-20 finishes at the Sunnehanna Amateur, Northeast Amateur and Trans-Miss Amateur. Looks like Vick made the right choice with golf, and chances are good that more validation is on the horizon.
Ludvig Aberg, Texas Tech (freshman)
Aberg got a chance to show his mettle already at the Carmel Cup. Even though he was fifth among Texas Tech scorers, Aberg made 40 pars in 54 holes, second-most among any player, and showed the kind of consistency that will likely be the foundation for his college success. Last month, Aberg was T-12 in stroke play at the U.S. Amateur and won his first match.
William Moll, Vanderbilt (freshman)
Moll, co-medalist at the U.S. Junior, tied for seventh in the Toyota Junior World Cup earlier in the summer and was a member of the 2018 USA Junior Ryder Cup Team. He tied for fifth in last year’s Texas State Amateur, and top-20 finishes in the Trans-Miss Championship and Jones Cup have highlighted his 2019.
Palmer Jackson, Notre Dame (freshman)
Not even a month has passed since Jackson took down Isaiah Salinda at the U.S. Amateur to find a spot in the quarterfinals. The Murrysville, Pa., native – formerly a baseball pitcher – is trying hard to honor his namesake, Arnold Palmer. At Notre Dame, he’ll be able to make a name for himself in more than just golf.
Jack Wall, South Carolina (freshman)
The youngest of four golfing Wall brothers, Jack has seen it all – firsthand, or as a tagalong. His older brothers praise his driver and his consistency. The Gamecocks graduated three seniors at the end of last season, leaving Wall plenty of room to make a good first impression.
Andy Mao, Georgia Tech (freshman)
Mao was third at the birdie-fest called the Junior PGA Championship this summer (he was 19 under while the winner was 21 under). He was also top 10 at the Georgia Amateur. Mao has his work cut out for him to fit into a Georgia Tech roster that lost only one player in May.
Alex Vogelsong, Auburn (freshman)
Vogelsong won the Terra Cotta Invitational and had a top-30 showing at the Jones Cup to start the 2019 amateur season. The Floridian learned lots of off-the-course lessons over the course of his high school career, especially when arcane FHSAA rules required he sit out his junior season as a transfer.
David Puig, Arizona State (freshman)
After finishing his summer playing for the victorious Continent of Europe in the Jacques Leglise Trophy, Puid heads to Tempe, and with a world of experience. Puig played all over Europe in 2019, but also made time for the U.S. Amateur (though he missed the cut) and the Sage Valley Junior Invitational (where he finished in the top 10).
Austin Greaser, North Carolina; Connor Creasy, Georgia; Peter Hruby, Washington; Juan Delgado, UCF; Dylan Menante, Pepperdine;