Updated Mon, Oct 7, 2013 4:35 pm
In the never-ending game of college recruiting, it is always great to have connections. Especially in golf, where the scouting and available information on prospects is not as in-depth as sports such as football and basketball.
In Ohio Men’s Golf coach Bob Cooley’s case, his connections gave him a recruiting class both he and Bobcat fans alike have plenty of reasons to be excited about.
Enter: Peyton White, Jake Williams and Ty Herriott.
White, a freshman from Huntersville, N.C., was coached by Erik Herberth while in high school. Herberth is an Ohio alumnus and played under Cooley from 1997-2002.
“He directed me here,” White said of Herberth. “He always spoke highly of the program, so I decided to check it out.”
Williams, a freshman from Jupiter, Fla., had a similar situation to that of White’s, as the golf professional at his club also played under Cooley. And for Herriott, a freshman from Brandywine, Md., Cooley has a current player to thank for reeling him in.
“[Junior] Andrew Mlynarski is from Maryland, too, and we were talking one day and he told me to check out Ohio,” Herriott said.
After being directed to Ohio via those connections, they all fell in love with the university as soon as they stepped foot on campus.
“When I came for my visit I loved everything about this school, and the golf program has a great group of guys,” Williams said.
However, even though they loved the university, choosing a college is no easy task, especially when one has a sport and academics to consider.
“Going to college is the 10-15 year decision, as it prepares you for your future,” White said. “It’s a huge decision, and there were a few other schools that were in the mix till the end. But Ohio is everything I could ask for, for college.”
Since arriving at Ohio in the summer, White and Herriott have caught Cooley’s eye, enough that they were both included in the starting lineup for the Bobcats’ first tournament of the season, the Marshall Invitational, on Sept. 9-10.
“The freshmen may be a little better than I thought,” Cooley said before the Marshall Invitational. “They had real good summers, so it will be interesting to see how their nerves hold up this season.”
Even though the team turned in a disappointing 11th place finish, White posted the team’s best overall score for the tournament, carding a 219 (+6), which included and even-par 71 to finish out the third round.
White also found himself in the Bobcats’ lineup for the Wolf Run Intercollegiate tournament, in which he posted his first career top-10 finish with a 219 (+6) overall score, including a 68 (-3) in the second round to lead the Bobcats to a ninth place finish. Following the tournament, he was recognized by the Mid-American Conference as its Men’s Golfer of the Week, marking the first time since 2012 that a Bobcat received such an honor.
White is no stranger to being an impact player in his first year on a team. In 2010, he found himself playing in the Class 4A State Championship tournament as a high school freshman, and placed in first and second in two junior tournaments that year as well.
But the moment White walked out on the course in Huntington, W.Va., to begin round one, he realized how much different collegiate tournaments were from the ones of the junior circuit.
“It’s a different environment,” he said. “You don’t know half the kids, and you know the conditions are going to be tough. You also have to play for the team because we have five guys competing and four scores counting every day, so you have to grind every shot out, no matter how bad you’re shooting that day.”
Herriott also posted a solid start to his collegiate career, carding an overall 226 (+13), including an even-par 71 of his own that he shot in the first round of his collegiate career. The biggest difference for him is the better overall talent of the players on each team.
“Everyone’s good in a collegiate tournament,” he said. “In juniors, you pretty much know who’s going to be good because you played with a lot of them before. But here anyone can go out on any given day and shoot any score.”
The freshmen have two more tournaments in the fall session to get the nerves out, as Cooley will be looking their way quite a bit come time for the spring season.
“They are going to be very good,” Cooley said, “and they are going to play a lot of golf this year, and in their career.”