College Golf
November 23, 2020

Vanderbilt's John Augenstein becomes latest top-ranked amateur to turn professional

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Rob Carr

While originally returning to Vanderbilt as fifth-year senior this fall, John Augenstein has decided to forgo college golf in the spring to turn pro.

John Augenstein, a two-time All-American at Vanderbilt and the reigning SEC Player of the Year, has decided to turn professional. It’s just coming five months later than he originally thought it would.

“Vanderbilt golf is made up of a family and I know that I’ll always be a part of that family,” Augenstein, 23, said in a letter posted to the Vanderbilt athletic department’s website. “Right now it is time for me to move on. I am so energized to finally start the career I have wanted to my whole life.”

After finishing runner-up to Andy Ogletree in the 2019 U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst, Augenstein earned entry into the 2020 Masters and U.S. Open. His initial plan was to play in both those tournaments, graduate from Vanderbilt in the spring of 2020 and turn professional. But the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything, and after college golfers were granted an extra year of athletic eligibility, Augenstein opted to return to school for a fifth year and preserve his exemption into both those majors.

Ahead of the U.S. Open in September, Augenstein played an early week practice round with Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas at Winged Foot, but wound up missing the cut in his first start in a major championship. Earlier this month, he was one of only two amateurs to make the weekend at the Masters, finishing T-55 but losing out to Ogletree for low amateur honors. Ogletree announced his decision to turn professional earlier this week.

Ranked No. 12 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking at the time of his announcement, Augenstein had been as high as No. 4. He also scored the winning point for the victorious American side at the 2019 Walker Cup at Royal Liverpool.

Augenstein was ranked No. 9 in the PGA Tour University ranking, with the top five at the end of the college golf season being granted status onto the Korn Ferry Tour. With the announcement, he will forego that opportunity, although he is widely expected to receive sponsor’s invitations to both PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour events early in 2021.