These are the top men’s college golf stories to watch in 2023-24

Summer has come and gone, which means the 2023-24 college golf season is here.

Last season there was no shortage of excitement. Florida got hot at the end of the year, winning the SEC Championship and then making a run to capture the NCAA Championship for the fifth title in school history.

Now, there’s no shortage of storylines to follow as we head into the 2023-24 season, including the national championship moving to the Omni La Costa in Carlsbad, Calif., next May. There’s also Florida reloading, the chasers and the early Player of the Year favorite looking to build off a big summer.

Here’s a look at some of the top storylines for the 2023-24 men’s college golf season.

Can Florida reload?

2023 NCAA Men's Golf Division I Championships
That Florida Gators men’s golf team poses with the trophy after winning the 2023 NCAA Men’s Golf Division I Championships at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Florida Gators are going to look different this fall. Fred Biondi, the reigning NCAA individual champion, is gone. So are Ricky Castillo and Yuxin Lin. All three who played key pieces for the Gators won their fifth national title in school history, but they are gone. So who will step in?

Junior transfer Ian Gilligan, a second-team All-American from Long Beach State, wants to fill a void. Parker Bell, a rising sophomore who advanced to the US Amateur semifinals, is another. John DuBois and Matthew Kress return. Florida seems poised for another strong year, especially if the Gators can find a few more players to add depth.

Will Vanderbilt come back?

Vanderbilt Men's Golf

Vanderbilt Commodores, 2023 Cabo Collegiate Champions. 2023 Cabo Collegiate, Third Round. Twin Dolphin Golf Club, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, March 7, 2023. (Photo: Darren Carroll, Cabo Collegiate)

To say that the end of last season was a disappointment for Vanderbilt might be putting it lightly. The Commodores were the easy team to beat throughout the regular season, winning five stroke play titles and capturing the East Lake Cup trophy. Then came the postseason, when Florida knocked off Vanderbilt for the SEC title. At the NCAAs, Vandy didn’t play a game. Gordon Sargent, the McCormack Medal winner for top ranked amateurs, returns along with William Moll and Cole Sherwood, but there is plenty of motivation for the Commodores to get into contention next spring.

Is North Carolina even stronger this year?

2023 NCAA Men's Golf Championship

North Carolina golfer David Ford plays his tee shot on the 10th hole during the first round of the 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships at Grayhawk Golf Club. (Photo: Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic)

North Carolina was one of the favorites to win it all last year, and the Tar Heels reached the semifinals in match play before falling to Georgia Tech. However, UNC could be even stronger this year.

The leading trio of David Ford, Dylan Menante and Austin Greaser, all 2023 Walker Cup team members, return, but Ford’s twin brother Maxwell transferred in from Georgia, giving the Tar Heels another talented player. Senior Peter Fountain is also back, meaning UNC may have the deepest lineup in men’s college golf. Can it become a title?

The rise of Nick Dunlap

2023 American Amateur

Nick Dunlap reacts to making his putt on hole 28 during the final match of the 2023 US Amateur at Cherry Hills CC in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, Sunday, August 20, 2023. (Kathryn Riley/USGA)

No player has more hype surrounding him heading into the season than Alabama sophomore Nick Dunlap.

Although he is ranked fifth in the world amateur golf rankings, Dunlap is the top player in men’s amateur golf right now, after a victory in the US Amateur at Cherry Hills Country Club and two more victories during the Elite Amateur Series. He had just one win in his first year at Alabama, but he also posted the second-lowest single-season scoring average in school history. The Haskins Award could be in his future.

The story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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