Brun Finishes NCAA Runner-Up to Close Freshman Season

May 31, 2012


PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif.—Freshman Julien Brun wrapped up the finest season ever for a TCU golfer Thursday by tying for second place at the 2012 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship held at challenging Riviera Country Club. Brun shot the second-best round of the day, and also matched the second-lowest of the entire tournament, with a final-round, 4-under-par 67.

Brun equaled the best finish ever at the NCAA Championship by a Horned Frog golfer after starting the day in a tie for 16th place on the individual leaderboard at +2. By the time his final round was finished, he sat at -2 while concluding the morning wave of competition as the clubhouse leader. Illinois’ Thomas Pieters, who entered the round atop the leaderboard at -5, played even-par golf in the afternoon session while winning top-medalist honors. Brun shared reserve-medalist honors with Florida’s Tyler McCumber.

After starting his final round on the back nine, Brun caught fire during a six-hole stretch between holes No. 16 and 3 that saw him record three birdies and an eagle on the par-5 first. The run pushed him to -5 on the day and -3 overall while climbing to within two strokes of Pieters for the individual lead. Two bogeys in the next four holes proved to be a tough break as Brun fell back to -1, but he did manage a birdie by chipping in on No. 8 to close out the round strong in a tie for fourth place.

Riviera continued to show its teeth in the afternoon session, as Brun moved up two spots on the leaderboard without playing as others dropped shots. Ranked as the nation’s No. 11 golfer according to Golfstat, he finished the tournament as the only individual below par among the nation’s top-18 players.

“I had some good breaks today during the round, but overall I just played solid golf,” Brun said. “It’s obviously a very difficult course, especially the back nine. When you miss shots here, the course punishes you. Starting on the back nine and playing well definitely helped my confidence, and I was able to put together a nice stretch there midway through the round.”

A native of Antibes, France, Brun matched the best-ever showing for a Frog at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship. J.J. Henry (T-No. 2 in 1998) and Adam Rubinson (T-No. 2 in 2002) also earned reserve medalist honors, although both golfers held at least junior standing when they accomplished the feat. Brun now heads into a busy offseason that will see him compete in such events as the prestigious Palmer Cup in Scotland for Team Europe.

“I’m really looking forward to playing this summer and continuing to try and improve my game,” Brun said. “I think there is a lot of potential for this team to be very good next season, so I’m excited about the future here.”

Brun’s outstanding finish added to an individual season haul that is unmatched in the annals of TCU golf. He concluded the year having set new school records for victories (three; also a TCU career record), top-5 finishes (eight), top-10 finishes (nine) and individual stroke average (70.38). The stroke average figure broke the previous mark set by Henry in 1998, when he was named Golfweek Co-National Player of the Year.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Julien, not only for how he played this week but for the entire season,” head coach Bill Montigel said. “I knew he was an extremely gifted golfer when I recruited him, but in no way could have I ever imagined him having this kind of season in his first year on campus. To say his future at TCU is bright moving forward is probably a bit of an understatement.”

TCU’s season came to a close when it was unable to finish among the top-8 teams that advanced on to the match play section of the NCAA Championship. The Frogs finished 27th (+45) after shooting three consecutive rounds of 15-over 299. Alabama (+7) posted the top team score of the 54-hole stroke play competition, while Kent State and Florida State (+23) tied for the No. 8 position and will play in a playoff on Friday for the final match play spot.

Among the other Frogs competing was senior Johan de Beer, who wrapped up his TCU career on a high note by firing a 1-under 70 to tie for 114th place overall. A native of Pretoria, South Africa, de Beer will now head on to a professional career after setting the No. 5 mark in career stroke average at TCU. He is the lone golfer in school history to earn all-conference honors each of his four seasons on campus.

Following de Beer on the individual leaderboard for TCU were junior Daniel Jennevret (T-123rd), sophomore Ian Phillips (T-144th) and freshman Thomas Mantovanini (152nd).

TCU made its 16th all-time NCAA appearance this season and its 13th in head coach Bill Montigel’s 24-year tenure. The Frogs are one of only 15 teams in the field to advance to the national championship at least three times in the last four years.

“Anytime you can be one of the top-30 teams that advances to the NCAA Championship, it’s a successful season,” Montigel said. “Looking forward, I can’t wait until next year. I think we can have a very good team. Losing Johan is certainly going to hurt, because he’s put together one of the best careers ever for a golfer since I’ve been around here, but we still should be in good shape. We have one of the best golfers in the nation coming back in Julien, and with our other returning pieces and incoming talent, this program should continue to be very strong in the coming years.”

Pacific Palisades, Calif. (The Riviera Country Club)
May 30, 2012
Stroke Play Final Results

1. Alabama – (+7; 285-287-287=859)
2. UCLA – (+9; 289-287-285=861)
3. Texas – (+17; 290-295-284=869)
4. California – (+19; 295-289-287=871)
    San Diego State – (+16; 292-295-284=871)
27. TCU – (+45; 299-299-299=897)

INDIVIDUAL STANDINGS (156 competitors)
1. Thomas Pieters, Illinois – (-5; 69-68-71=208)
2. Julien Brun, TCU – (-2; 72-72-67=211)
    Tyler McCumber, Florida – (-2; 68-71-72=211)
4. Patrick Cantlay, UCLA – (-1; 74-72-66=212
    Corey Conners, Kent State – (-1; 68-75-69=212)
    Cory Whitsett, Alabama – (-1; 73-68-71=212)
t114. Johan de Beer, TCU – (+15; 75-83-70=228)
t123. Daniel Jennevret, TCU – (+17; 77-72-81=230)
t144. Ian Phillips, TCU – (+21; 75-77-82=234)
152. Thomas Mantovanini, TCU – (+24; 78-78-81=237)

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