With the turn of every new year comes the new golf season. Also, with the turn of every new year comes a new class of freshmen to watch for. Every great was once a freshman, and while it may be tough to sing their praises now (due to a lack of high-level praises to sing), it’s important to recognize just a few athletes that stand out, as we believe they may be the next greats.
1. Cayetana Fernandez Garcia-Poggio, Texas A&M: @cayetanafernandez
We start off the list with Cayetana Fernandez Garcia- Poggio from Texas A&M. The freshman from Spain was ranked number 2 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking before ever stepping on the tee box in college. That stat doesn’t even sound possible. On top of that, she finished 4th in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. A bright future has certainly gotten a hot start with Garcia-Poggio. The Aggies are looking for a repeat this year, coming off the 2023 SEC Championship year. They also tied for 3rd in the NCAA Championship, and players like Garcia- Poggio are certainly tools that can ensure a victorious season.
2. Ashleen Kaur, Baylor: @ashleenkaur.__
Next on the list is Ashleen Kaur from Baylor. She won the 2023 ANNIKA Invitational and secured a T-9 in both the Junior PGA Championship and the Polo Junior Golf Classic. Kaur is already making a splash for the Bears, becoming the first freshman to lead Baylor in scoring through their first 2 events. Kaur isn’t afraid to showcase her skills at a young age, meaning the future can only get brighter. Baylor has qualified for the NCAA Tournament 6 times in the last 8 seasons, and Kaur is looking hungry for more.
3. Frances Kim, USC: @franceskiim
At our #3 spot is Frances Kim from USC. Kim was a 2022 Rolex All-American Second Team Member and tied for 1st at the 2023 US Women’s Amateur Four-Ball. The women’s program at USC is nothing short of impressive to say the least. The Spartans have brought home 3 NCAA titles since 2000, with 14 straight top finishes through 2019. With Kim on the team, it’s likely to see USC in the rankings again.
4. Macy Pate, Wake Forest: @macypategolf
Next on the list is Macy Pate from Wake Forest. With Wake Forest winning the NCAA title last year, Pate has some big shoes to fill to say the least. However, she has proven herself able to step up to the plate, winning the 2023 North and South US Girls’ Junior. The Demon Deacons are no strangers to winning themselves, owning last years title along with housing 16 individual champions and an Augusta National Women’s Amatuer Champion throughout their program history. Can Pate handle the pressure and make Wake Forest back-to-back champions? We certainly think it’s likely.
5. Erica Lee, Illinois: @ericalee.golf
Last but certainly not least, we have Erica Lee from Illinois. Lee was ranked 23rd in the Sangarin Junior Girls Rankings before playing a single collegiate match. She finished 2nd at the 2022 SCPGA Jr. Tour Toyota Tour Cup and is an AJGA All-American. Last year, Illinois brought home their first Big 10 Title Trophy. With the recent program success, they are hungry for more. With athletes like Lee on the team, success is almost guaranteed.
These ladies are no doubt on a path to greatness, and many of them have already achieved plenty of it. But there is always room for more progress, and it doesn’t seem like them have any intentions of slowing down anytime soon. If you’re looking for someone to root for, pick a freshman. They just might shock the world.
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Article by: @mason_fyffe