TCU golfer followed historic freshman season with even better sophomore run

Posted Monday, May. 27, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
NCAA Championships (at Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course, Milton, Ga.) When: Tuesday through Sunday What: TCU is one of 30 teams competing in three 18-hole rounds from Tuesday to Thursday. The individual champion is crowned and the top eight teams advance to compete in up to three rounds of a single-elimination match play Friday through Sunday. The teams are seeded by their finish in the medal format. Big 12/Texas teams: TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State; Individuals: Rodolfo Cazaubon, North Texas; Mario Clemens, SMU. Note: Texas won the title last year ... Oklahoma State is appearing in its 66th NCAA championship ... Cowboys have won it 10 times, last in 2006 ... TCU is making its 18th appearance ... Horned Frogs’ best finish is fourth in 1980.

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TCU golfer Julien Brun scoffs at the idea of a sophomore slump.

Not only has he backed up his stellar freshman season with an equally impressive sophomore year, but he also improved on it.

Brun, who hails from Antibes, France, has won three tournaments this year, doubling his career tally, which was already an all-time TCU record, to six. He was one of three finalists for the prestigious Ben Hogan Award, earned Big 12 first team honors and ranks No. 3 in college rankings by Golfstat.

“I don’t think it’s a surprise for me to play as well as last year,” Brun said. “It was more a surprise for me to play good last year than this year because my golf game improved and evolved in a good way. I clearly could see improvements in my game so I was not so surprised. So far, it was a good year.”

About the only thing left for Brun to do is win the NCAA championship, which begins Tuesday in Milton, Ga.

The Horned Frogs are making their 17th appearance at the tournament and 14th in coach Bill Montigel’s 26-year tenure.

Last year, Brun finished tied for second at the NCAA championships, matching the best finish for a TCU golfer.

Brun said winning the individual title would be nice, but the team championship is the only way to top one of the best seasons in TCU team history.

“Yeah, of course,” Brun said. “I think this year it will be different. Our team is really competitive, and we get a chance to compete as a team, so maybe that will change a little bit.”

The Horned Frogs are no strangers to the Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course.

The ninth-seeded Frogs traveled to the site for a dual match against No. 8 Georgia Tech on April 19, posting a 3.5 to 2.5 victory over the Yellow Jackets. The course features Bermuda grass fairways and rough and bent-grass greens. It plays a distance of 7,320 yards this week with a par score of 70.

Brun is hitting 15 to 20 yards longer than last year and has stayed more consistent. He’s on pace to break his own record for stroke average, sitting at 70.39. He has nine top-10 finishes in 12 tournaments, including five top-five finishes.

The language barrier that made it tough to communicate with his coach and teammates when he first arrived last August is no longer an issue. With almost two years together, not only has his English improved, but the bond between his teammates also comes with a shorthand that’s clear.

“I really can understand them perfectly,” he said. “It’s not a problem anymore, and the language is much more fluent. It’s much better, even though it’s not perfect still. People understand me and don’t ask to repeat myself, so that’s a big change. It’s better in class, as well. You don’t use as much energy to understand other people.”

In his first two years, there’s no misunderstanding Brun on the golf course.

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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