The future is now for Oklahoma State golfers Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff.
Two of the top amateur golfers in the world will not be amateurs much longer as both have received sponsorship exemptions for several PGA Tour events in the coming weeks with Wolff making his declaration official Thursday on Twitter.
“Ready to keep swingin’ my swing. I’m PUMPED to officially start my professional career (at the Travelers Championship)!” Wolff’s tweet read. “It’s been the journey of a lifetime so far & I’m (very) grateful for my #wolffpack & everyone’s support. Can’t wait to tee it up… let’s do the dang thing.”
The tweet was embedded with a video showcasing his first sponsor: Taylor Made Golf.
Both Hovland and Wolff will be making their professional debut in the Travelers Championship, which will be held June 17-23 at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut, the tour event announced in a press release Thursday.
The pair have also received sponsor exemptions for the John Deere Classic to be held July 8-14 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois, the tour event announced in a press release.
Hovland is coming off a 12-month period in which he won the 2018 U.S. Amateur, was the top amateur to finish at this year’s Masters and recently won the Ben Hogan award, which is given to the top men’s college golfer factoring in amateur events. Prior to the making his pro debut, the Oslo, Norway, native is slotted to compete in the U.S. Open as an amateur next week at Pebble Beach Golf Links – the same course in which he won the U.S. Amateur to receive an invitation to this year’s U.S. Open.
However, with Hovland turning professional, he will forego his invitation to The Open Championship in July and will now have to qualify in order to compete in the tournament.
Wolff is coming off one of the best years for an individual golfer in Cowboy program history. He won six tournaments as an individual, capped with the NCAA individual national championship – the first Cowboy to win it since 2006. Earlier this week, he was named the Fred Haskins Award winner for top college male golfer after having being named the recipient of the Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year in Division I golf.
With the departure of Wolff and Hovland, along with the graduation of Zach Bauchou and Hayden Wood, OSU will return just one starter from the team that were NCAA semifinalists at the Blessings Golf Club a week ago in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Sophomore Austin Eckroat, who qualified for next week’s U.S. Open as an amateur (where he will be grouped with former OSU golfers Alex Noren and Charles Howell III in the first round), will the lone returner. The Edmond native, who has gone 5-0 in match play at the NCAA tournament, let slip after the NCAA tournament that he expected that to be the case.
“It's crazy that it's over. I'll be the one coming back next year to try to rally up some troops and do it (again),” Eckroat said after the loss in the NCAA semifinals. “But we'll see.”
He won’t be the only Cowboy will some college starts under his belt, though.
Freshman Aman Gupta competed in six college tournaments this past season, and was the alternate for the Cowboys at the NCAA tournament. Three of his tournaments were playing as an individual, which included a first-place finish at the Southern Plains Intercollegiate. In his two starts as one of the top five golfers for OSU, he finished tied for 45th at the Querencia Cabo Collegiate and tied for 24th at the ASU Thunderbird Collegiate – where he finished second among OSU golfers.
Junior Ferdinand Müller and freshman Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen also competed in several college tournaments this past season. Müller’s top finish was a tie for 22nd at The Carmel Cup, while Neergaard-Petersen’s best finish was a tie for 11th at both the Southern Plains Intercollegiate and the ASU Thunderbird Collegiate – both of which he was competing as an individual.