Professional golf has entered an age where young, up-and-coming golfers have quickly risen to the highest levels Take Dallas native Jordan Spieth, who went toe-to-toe with Bubba Watson during the final round of this year’s Masters.
To find the next of these young phenoms, fans may need to look no further than the campus of TCU and junior Julien Brun.
Brun, along with the rest of the Horned Frogs men’s golf team, will be competing in the NCAA Regional this week at Briggs Ranch Golf Club in San Antonio. Brun enters with a legitimate chance to advance to the NCAA championship.
“It doesn’t really matter what tournament we go to, he’s got a shot to be one of the better guys,” TCU coach Bill Montigel said.
Brun, from Antibes, France, located on the Mediterranean coast between Nice and Cannes, first heard of TCU a little over three years ago from another French golfer, Valentine Derrey, who excelled on the TCU women’s team and shared her stories of success with friends back home.
Eventually Brun reached out to TCU and Montigel offered a scholarship. It didn’t take long for Montigel to know he hadn’t made a mistake.
“I knew he was going to be pretty special when he got here the first week and he went to Frog Camp,” Montigel said. “Normally, when you get a freshman and they have to go to Frog Camp or orientation, they are kind of moaning and whining, and he just really got involved with all the other kids right from the very beginning and did all the Frog Camp stuff and all the orientation stuff and went to every single session.”
That was even before Montigel saw him in action. Brun won his first qualifying tournament by 10 strokes, then won the first collegiate tournament he played.
In his first two years, Brun earned first-team All-America honors and won six tournaments, breaking the previous school record for career wins of 3, set by several golfers, including PGA Tour pro J.J. Henry.
Brun has won only two tournaments this year, but that includes his first Big 12 championship.
Brun attributes the slow start to changing parts of his swing to better prepare for a potential pro career.
“I kind of struggled playing good golf week in and week out, but now I’ve seen the results and my game is getting better,” Brun said. “I could see after the Big 12 that it all came together.”
The key this week for Brun, who is ranked No. 17 nationally, will be his short game.
“Anytime he’s around the green he has a chance to get it up and down because his short game is so good,” Montigel said.
After the regional, Brun’s career will go into overdrive. He has been offered an exemption into the field of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial next week, if he’s not at the NCAA championship.
He will also earn his degree after the fall semester, and will decide whether to turn pro or return for his rest of his senior season. Regardless of when he makes the jump to the professional ranks, Montigel said he will be a player to watch.
“I think that if he continues to work hard, like J.J. worked hard, I think he’s got a great future ahead of him, and I think you’ll see him up there on the tour for a long time,” Montigel said.