U golf team signs long-time local prospect

Sarah Mitchell

The Gophers men’s golf team’s most recent recruit will soon have to trade in his surfboard for a snowboard and his swimsuit for a snowsuit.
But for David Morgan, this change of personal possessions is familiar. The Gophers addition currently resides in California, but at one time called Minnesota home.
Minnesota’s coaching staff has considered Morgan a prospect since seventh grade. Under NCAA regulations, a coach is allowed to speak to an athlete until the freshman year of high school begins, and Gophers coach John Means was constantly contacting the young golfer.
“He was playing well at the time and I just gave him some encouragement,” Means said. “As a coach at a top-notch university, if you don’t keep in touch with the junior level players than you aren’t doing your job. I just told him, “(You’re) looking good and keep us in mind when you get older.'”
Eventually, Morgan reached the no-contact period. Living in Rochester, Minn., at the time, Morgan played for Mayo High School.
At the end of his first year, Morgan transferred to Robert Louis Stevenson Prep School in Monterey, Calif., where he spent the past three seasons.
The private school offers aspiring golfers a collegiate-like atmosphere — tougher competition and more opportunities to travel.
Minnesota’s program kept tabs on the prospect, but assumed that Morgan wanted to go to a southern school. Means said Oklahoma State coach Mike Holder was the main cheerleader behind Morgan’s cross country relocation.
Originally, Morgan was extremely interested in competing for the Cowboys. Holder suggested the change in order for Morgan to reach Oklahoma State caliber.
But the Gophers’ recent success — the team is currently tied for third with Oklahoma State in the national poll — sparked Morgan’s interest.
“He wanted to compete at this level and he liked what was going on back here,” Means said.
It’s been a while since he has seen Morgan swing a club, but Means said Minnesota’s newest recruit has improved his game over time.
Morgan placed second in the NorCal State Tournament as both a sophomore and a junior after being named to the all-conference and all-state teams as a freshman in Minnesota.
“He used to be very straight and had a nice short game. He’s changed a bunch in physical makeup. He was 5 foot 9, but the last time I saw him he had sprouted to 6 foot 2,” Means said. “If he brings his top game, he can definitely compete for a top spot.”