Mid-season Awards: Freshmen of the (Mid)Year
It's only been one semester, but these first-year players have made the jump from junior to college golf with few problems
__FRESHMAN OF THE (MID)YEAR
__[#image: /photos/55ad7345b01eefe207f69e3d]|||Albin Choi.jpeg|||
Albin Choi, N.C. State
Perhaps some saw this coming, particularly when the 18-year-old who grew up in Vancouver but whose family now lives in Toronto, won the Canadian Amateur this summer and qualified for match play at the U.S. Amateur in August. Yet with victories at the Wolfpack Intercollegiate and the Rod Myers Invitational, Choi closed out the fall semester among the hottest college golfers, regardless of his rookie status.
"I knew I was playing good golf when I arrived here," Choi said. "I knew if I went out and didn't do anything dumb or stupid, I could pull off some more wins. I did do a few stupid things, but I managed to pull off two one-shot wins.
"It's not like I ran away from everyone out there."
Still, he managed to come through the fall with a 71.17 average. "He is a solid player," said N.C. State men's coach Richard Sykes. "He doesn't make a lot of mistakes. He is a precise player. He always hits the right shot. Time will tell how good he can be, but he's been pretty good so far."
Honorable mention: Bobby Wyatt, Alabama
Living up to his reputation after shooting a 57 this summer in a junior event wasn't going to be easy for the Mobile, Ala., native, but Wyatt held his own with two top-fives and no finish worse than T-16. His efforts helped the Crimson Tide claim the No. 4 spot in the final Golf World/Nike Golf coaches' poll of the fall.
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Seo Hee Moon, Yale
A third-place finish at the Nittany Lion Invitational was all the separated the 18-year-old from Mukilteo, Wash., from a perfect fall season, as he claimed victory in her four other college starts. She carded no worse than a 75 through out the fall, en route to a 71.62 average (silencing some who question the strength of the fields she was competing against).
"Good golfers love the competition," said Yale women's coach Chawwadee Rompothong earlier this fall. "She relishes it. She gives it all she can, and steps it up a notch when she is head-to-head with someone she wants to beat."
Twice in the fall she made holes in one, part of a memorable semester.
"I don't feel like I have to play for myself anymore," Moon said of her transition to Yale. "I have a support group behind me, and we're all in it together."
Honorable mention: Emily Tubert, Arkansas
The reigning U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links champion carded a 71.67 average in four fall starts, winning twice and tying the NCAA 18-hole scoring mark with a 63 in Las Vegas. Not bad for someone who only started playing the game competitively five years ago.