College golf notebook: Pierceson Coody among U.S. Open qualifiers; a new camp experience
During the college golf season, GolfChannel.com will check in weekly to update what’s happening in the world of college golf.
It’s been a taxing last month or so for Texas rising senior Pierceson Coody.
After capping his regular season at the Big 12 Championship in late April with his fifth straight top-6 finish, Coody headed to Seminole in early May to represent the U.S. in the Walker Cup. Of course, Coody was among those who fell ill to a stomach virus, and he missed the opening session. He then headed back to Dallas the next week for his PGA Tour debut, at the AT&T Byron Nelson, where he missed the cut. Three days later, Coody was playing an NCAA regional, where he tied for ninth.
He still wasn’t done. Coody got a week off before the NCAA Championship, but he played just one round at Grayhawk before another random virus knocked him out again. Coody, who tested negative for COVID-19, mono and strep, among other ailments, had a fever for almost a week, not breaking it fully until last Wednesday. That left him just five days to prepare for his U.S. Open final qualifier in Columbus, Ohio.
But Coody somehow mustered the strength to get through, earning his U.S. Open spot in a playoff on Tuesday morning after play was pushed into a second day because of inclement weather.
So, Coody’s busy stretch will continue. The recently named Big 12 Player of the Year will play in this week’s Arnold Palmer Cup near Chicago before heading to Torrey Pines for his major debut. He’ll be joined in San Diego by several other current or recent college players, including SMU’s Ollie Osborne, who is exempt via his U.S. Amateur runner-up finish, and final qualifiers Joe Highsmith of Pepperdine, Charlotte’s Matthew Sharpstene, Louisville’s Matthias Schmid, Georgia’s Spencer Ralston and Auburn’s Andrew Kozan.
Coody’s Texas teammate Cole Hammer is also in the U.S. Open field after getting in on Wednesday as the first alternate from the Columbus qualifier. Hammer, who is teeing it up at Congaree this week, replaced Mikko Korhonen, who withdrew. It will be Hammer’s third U.S. Open start.
A new camp ‘experience’
With the recruiting dead period finally lifting on June 1, college golf coaches aren’t the only ones getting to work this summer. This month will also see the debut of College Golf Experience.
The new GCAA-endorsed program for college golf camps is committed to providing junior golfers unprecedented access to college coaches to learn about collegiate golf and the recruiting process while helping those golfers showcase their talents and achieve their goals.
CGX is the brainchild of well-known industry veteran Josh Jacobs, CGX’s CEO and also the founder and CEO of TGA Premier Golf, a leading provider of introductory and recreational golf programs nationwide. Jacobs, who played Division III golf at Emory, saw an opportunity to revive the idea of college golf camps.
“When I was a junior golfer, I had no idea what the recruiting process was. I had no clue what I was doing,” Jacobs said. “I believe that there are so many scholarship opportunities and coaches that want to see these juniors and engage with them and talk to them about their schools, whether it’s mid- to low-level D1, whether it’s D2, NAIA, whatever it is, there’s a ton of opportunity here.”
Fairly new recruiting rules prohibit contact between coaches and prospective college golfers until June 15 before a player’s junior year of high school, except during these camps. For coaches that don’t have the time or capability to run their own camp, that’s where CGX comes in. Jacobs, with help from former Arizona golfer Dylan Kornberg, who is CGX’s director of camps, has created three types of camps – showcase, which will include coaches from several schools; conference, which will focus on a particular conference (the Ivy League has one planned for early next year); and institutional, which will be for a specific school.
The first camp, set for June 11-12 at Classic Club in Palm Desert, California, is a showcase camp, and it will feature seven Division-I coaches, including Arizona’s Jim Anderson, Colorado State’s Christian Newton, San Diego State’s Ryan Donovan and Pepperdine assistant Blaine Woodruff.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of College Golf Experience’s launch camp,” Anderson said. “It provides a unique opportunity to pair junior golfers and their parents with college coaches. Campers will benefit from time spent with coaches preparing for college golf and many questions will be answered about the transition process.”
Added Newton: “CGX camps are a great way to meet and engage with college coaches in a fun and relaxed environment. Juniors and parents will leave with a clear understanding of what college golf looks like and how to reach their junior and collegiate golfing goals.”
At these camps, which are open to boys and girls aged 10-18, attendees will play in a simulated college tournament or practice round, receive skill-based instruction and evaluations from coaches, explore a college golfer’s weekly routine and team’s culture, and gather information about the recruiting process, how to schedule junior tournaments and more.
“I think this is going to help junior golfers achieve their goals and help these families really understand the path that their junior golfer needs to go down,” Jacobs said. “If you’re a freshman or sophomore in high school and you get evaluated by a D-I coach, and he says, look, you’re a 7-handicap, here are your average scores, I’m looking at your game, you really need to improve here, here and here, and if you want to play Division I, you really have to hit these marks, and this is what we’re looking for.
“You get a real, true evaluation of your game, and where you can take it and what you need to do to achieve your goals.”
For more information on CGX, click here.
Pair of SEC women’s jobs claimed
Two big coaching announcements were recently made on the women’s side.
Texas A&M has hired former Houston head coach Gerrod Chadwell while Tennessee signed Diana Cantu away from Maryland, which Cantu recently led to its first NCAA Women’s Championship appearance.
Chadwell, who is the husband of LPGA player Stacy Lewis, started the program at Houston in 2013 and led the Cougars to three AAC Championships and six straight NCAA regional berths, a streak that included this season. He replaces former Aggies head coach Andrea Gaston.
“My wife Stacy and I are so excited to have the opportunity to raise our family in Aggieland,” Chadwell said. “I want to thank Ross Bjork and Jeff Toole for believing in me and giving me the chance to lead this program. Here at A&M, we have an incredible foundation to build something great and with the support we have from the top down, I know we can do just that. I have admired the 12th Man from afar for a long time, and to now be a part of it is a humbling experience. I can’t wait to get to campus to begin preparing for the fall. Gig ‘Em!”
Cantu is coming off a season in which she not only guided the Terps to nationals but also was named Big Ten Coach of the Year. She played for Tennessee, graduating in 2010.
“I am thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to come back home to Tennessee,” Cantu said. “As a proud alum, I know the history of the athletic department and women’s golf program. I’m also well aware of the endless opportunities for success our student-athletes receive. I look forward to continuing to build on the foundation that Judi Pavon established. I know that with the facilities and resources that Tennessee provides—Day Golf Practice Facility and the Blackburn-Furrow Clubhouse—we will be able to compete at a high level within our conference and nationally.”
Changes to PGA Tour University
As a few rising college seniors and juniors prepare for U.S. Open starts and potential PGA Tour exemptions this summer, PGA Tour University has announced a tweak to its points-distribution process for professional events.
The changes will begin this week and will include a limit on points for college players who miss the cut in a PGA Tour event. Players who miss the cut in those events will continue to earn points based on their finishing position as determined by the World Amateur Golf Ranking, unless that total is above eight points. In that case, the maximum points for a missed cut would be capped at eight.
The only exception is major championships, where players will be able to collect all available points, even if they miss the cut. Players who make the cut at a PGA Tour event will also continue to earn full points toward PGA Tour U.
PGA Tour U also announced that players may receive full points at other select professional tournaments, at the discretion of PGA Tour University and determined before the start of the tournament.
A preliminary ranking for the Class of 2022 will be released in July.