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Aug 02, 2022

Chris Gotterup Brings Young Talent to PGA Tour

By Tim Morris

Chris Gotterup was the National Player of the Year at the University of Oklahoma and then turned pro, scoring two Top 10 finishes in his first six starts on the PGA Tour. Photo courtesy of University of Oklahoma Athletics

It has been a whirlwind season on the golf links for Little Silver native Chris Gotterup. He went from sweeping the national Player of the Year honors at the University of Oklahoma to being one of the top upcoming prospects on the PGA Tour.

“It has been crazy,” said the 2017 graduate of Christian Brothers Academy during a Golf Channel interview.

Gotterup’s year began as a red shirt senior at OU (he had an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic) after having starred for four years at Rutgers University where he captured Big 10 Player of the Year honors to go along with numerous RU scoring records and First Team All-American status.

Playing for the Scarlet Knights was a big part of Gotterup’s journey to the professional tour.

He said during an interview for PGA Tour University Extra Credit, “It was awesome. It was everything and more than I imagined. To do the things I did was truly special for me.”

At Oklahoma, he was the top-ranked collegiate golfer in the country, won the Jack Nicklaus and Fred Haskin Awards and was named the National Player of the Year. The Haskins Award is for the top college golfer while the Nicklaus Award goes to the NCCA Player of the Year in each of the NCAA’s five divisions. Gotterup played in Division I. He was the Big 12 Player of the Year and First Team All-American as well.

Oklahoma Coach Ryan Hybl pointed out that no golfer at the university had won either of those awards before.

“He was phenomenal,” Hybl said of Gotterup’s one season with the Sooners. “He’s as good as anyone who has ever played for us. Chris was a dream to coach. He’s a team guy who wanted [success] for the team.”

His college season alone would make 2022 memorable. However, right after the finishing his collegiate career, Gotterup turned pro and has already made an impact on the PGA Tour where he, at 22, is one of the bright young stars.

Gotterup qualified for the United States Open where he made the cut in his first attempt, finishing 43rd.

Playing at the US Open has been a goal of his since he first started swinging a club. He seems destined to play many more Opens in the future.

In his six Tour events, the CBA grad made the cut in four tournaments and has been in the Top 10 twice, including a fourth-place finish at the John Deere event.

Gotterup actually made his tour debut while still at Oklahoma at the Puerto Rico Open, where he announced his arrival with a seventh-place playing against the pros. The Sooner had earned an exemption to the event by winning the collegiate tournament there.

Gotterup, while remaining humble, noted that he believed he had the game to compete professionally.

“I thought my style of play would translate well,” he said.

Gotterup’s game is power, and it has been the talk of the tour. His ball speed ranks with the best, reaching 200 MPH; average for the pro golfers is between 170 and 190 MPH. He credited playing lacrosse when he was younger with helping him develop his stunning swing.

Hybl has not been surprised by what Gotterup has been doing.

“Chris is PGA ready,” he said. “He has the physical attributes. He hits it long and straight. He has been one of the top drivers at all his tournaments thus far. His driver is such a weapon. He’s so strong. He has a belief system; he believes he belongs out there. Chris is very mature in practice and preparation.”

Hybl thinks it may not be too long before his former star tastes his first pro win.

“He’s going to keep knocking on the door,” he remarked. “He loves to have to prove himself.”

That was evident at OU where he knew he was joining a nationally ranked program and welcomed the challenge of making the team.

“Chris loves competition. He wanted to earn his place,” Hybl explained.

Gotterup’s season was hardly all about him. He earned his place on the team and led the Sooners to an extraordinary year.

“We had arguably the best season ever,” Hybl said. “We won seven tournaments facing the toughest schedule in the country. We won the Big 12 and NCAA Region tournaments and tied for the low score in stroke play [at the national championship].”

Gotterup made his first marks on the links playing for CBA and he hasn’t forgotten his roots.

In a post on CBA’s athletic website, the former Colt said, “CBA golf gave me the confidence that I can be one of the best players in the state of New Jersey. The experience just set the foundation of my career.”

Gotterup left his own mark at CBA as a two-time Monmouth County Tournament and a Shore Conference Tournament champion. In 2017, he led the Colts to the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions and Non-Public A State Group titles. It’s a foundation he has been steadily building upon.