New Kids on the Block: 5 College Freshmen to Watch This Year

New Kids on the Block: 5 College Freshmen to Watch This Year

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. Kush Arora, Stanford:  

Immediately, the name stands out. Kush Arora is simply a “famous” name. Tiger Woods, John Daly, Kush Arora. It just rolls off the tongue. Arora is a freshman at Stanford, a well-established golf program that has taken home 9 national championships and have 25 professional major championships combined from its players, more than any other team. Arora came to Stanford as a 2022 All-American, and winner of the 2021 AJGA Reno/Tahoe Jr. If you’re placing bets on who’s “up next”, be sure to consider Kush Arora. 


2. Johnnie Clark, Oklahoma State University: @johnnieclark_golf 

Johnnie Clark is a freshman at Oklahoma State. OSU has competed in an NCAA record 65 consecutive championships, taking home 10 victories and finishing lower than 5th only 14 times. On top of this, they own 55 conference titles. Dominance is simply the name of the game at OSU, and Clark is a perfect fit. He comes to college as a second-team All-American and a member of the United States Junior President’s Team. If Johnnie Clark isn’t on your radar yet, he should be. 


3. Ethan Gao, Stanford: @ethan_gao_

Ethan Gao will join Kush Arora as a freshman at Stanford. They are getting seriously stacked over there. Gao joins the team with AJGA Rolex Junior All-America first-team honors from 2022 and was a four-time (yes, four-time) Rolex Tournament of Champions invitee. It’s looking like nothing but bright futures ahead for the Cardinals. 


4. Max Herendeen, University of Illinois: @maxherendeen

Next on the list is Max Herendeen, a freshman at the University of Illinois. Illinois have taken home 20 Big Ten championships, with the last 8 being consecutive. It’s safe to say they run their conference. They have also reached the Final Four of the NCAA Championship 4 times in just the last 10 years. Herendeen joins the team as the 2022 Junior PGA Champion, a 2022 AJGA Rolex All-American, and the 2022 Washington 3A Champion. It’s looking like the Big Ten will still be owned by Illinois for years to come with players like Herendeen. 


5. Bryan Kim, Duke University: @bryk05

Last but not least, we have Bryan Kim, a freshman at Duke. The Blue Devils have taken home 7 national championships since 1999 and 13 ACC championships since 1998. They have been a big name in the 21st century, and with players like Kim, it’s looking like it will stay that way. Kim joins the team as the 2023 US Junior 

Amateur champion and a 2-time Rolex All-American. Don’t count out Duke just yet. 

These guys 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 these gentlemen 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

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