Junior golfer putts way to success, tournament victory

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    As the TCU men’s golf team wrapped up its second consecutive second-place finish, one golfer hoped to clinch an individual goal at the Memphis Intercollegiate.Franklin Corpening, a junior communication studies major, left a 20-foot putt for eagle one foot short and tapped in the birdie putt in disgust.

    But, when that putt connected with the bottom of the cup, Corpening guaranteed his first career collegiate victory.

    “I thought, if I shoot a 66 I would have a pretty good chance of winning,” Corpening said. “I made a few putts and got to six under and held in there.”

    Head golf coach Bill Montigel said the win has probably given Corpening more confidence, but it hasn’t changed him.

    “I’m sure that he has a little more confidence, but he seems to be as pleasant and easy-going as he ever was.” Montigel said. “He is one of the most pleasant, respectful guys I have ever been around.”

    Robbie Ormand, Corpening’s roommate and teammate, said that he is a good golfer and a stand-up guy.

    “Off the course, he is a blast,” Ormand said. “He took me under his wing and will always give a helping hand.”

    Corpening posted a 54-hole total of 212, which put his final score at four strokes under par.

    He is also the 10th Horned Frog in the last decade to win medalist honors, which means finishing first, second or third in a tournament.

    “It helps me play with confidence,” Corpening said.

    This is the first win in 17 college tournaments for Corpening, who had finished in the top 10 of tournaments twice.

    “I had been playing well all year and knew I was real close to putting a good tournament together,” Corpening said. “Things kept getting better.”

    Ormand said that Corpening’s recent success doesn’t surprise him.

    “I knew they were coming,” Ormand said. “It was just a matter of time until he got a few good breaks.”

    Corpening attended Paschal High School for two years, where he was a 5A district champion in 2002 and 2003.

    Before attending Paschal, Corpening was a Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools 3A state champion at Southwest Christian School in Fort Worth.

    “It was fun as a freshman, but I knew I needed to go somewhere else to play golf,” Corpening said. “Part of the reason I went to Paschal was because of my success freshman year.”

    Corpening didn’t know golf was something he wanted to do in college until late in his high school career.

    “I really didn’t know if I was going to play until senior year,” Corpening said.

    Even after that, he didn’t know where he was going to play. He was contacted by Baylor, Texas A&M and Arkansas to play golf.

    When Montigel recruits players, he doesn’t focus on other schools. Instead he looks for local talent first.

    “I sell our program,” Montigel said. “One thing we try to do is get best golfers from local areas.”

    But TCU offered some perks none of those other schools could.

    “Coach Montigel has helped me excel through college,” Corpening said. “Plus I can go home for a meal or for Mom to do some laundry.”

    Montigel said that it is a slow process for players to adjust from the amateur level to the college level, and Corpening was no exception.

    “He had some ups and downs, but is able to bounce back,” Montigel said. “It’s not an easy transition from junior golf to college golf, but he is an awfully fine player.”

    Corpening is playing well, but Montigel thinks he isn’t done yet.

    “His best is ahead of him,” Montigel said.

    Even though Corpening has now proved he can win a college tournament, the success isn’t his favorite part of the game.

    “Playing with your best friends,” Corpening said. “There is nothing better than walking 18 holes with your buddies.