Vining moves to first team early

The freshman has an average score of 73.75, the second best for Minnesota.

Jack White

Tom Vining finished in fifth place in his first ever college tournament, one of the best first-year performances head coach John Carlson said he’s ever seen on his team.
 
The freshman’s performance has earned him a spot on the first team ever since.
 
“Well, he came in playing at a high level,” Carlson said. “His finish at the Gopher Invitational was one of the top freshman performances we’ve had at a first event in my six years coaching.”
 
Vining has averaged a 73.75 this season, the best of any Minnesota golfer besides junior Justin Doeden. The freshman has finished in the top 40 in all three of his tournament appearances. 
 
“I’m just glad to be traveling and competing at a high level,” Vining said. “[I’m] excited to compete in a really good field of teams and guys.”
 
Vining’s brother John is a women’s golf coach at the University of South Dakota. Vining said John acted as a mentor for him growing up. Tom Vining considered going to South Dakota but decided to commit to Minnesota instead of staying in his home state.
 
“I didn’t really think about going to college until I was probably a sophomore, and [Minnesota was] one of the first ones to reach out to me,” Vining said. “The schedule they play is obviously second to none.” 
 
Junior Grady Meyer has helped Vining adjust to life as a student-athlete off the course, while Vining has given Meyer pointers on ball striking.
 
“[I] just try to give him advice about how to go about at school and how to balance his life as a student-athlete in college,” Meyer said. “Making sure you have your priorities set of when you’re doing stuff, whether it be school or golf.”
 
Vining showed similar success on the course in high school. He was a two-time state champion in South Dakota and won a U.S. Amateur Championship bid. Vining was the only player from his home state to compete in the U.S Amateur and played against current teammate Peter Jones in the tournament. Both players were cut before reaching match play.
 
“He’s come from a winning background in South Dakota,” Carlson said. “Those are the attributes on the golf course that allow him to free up and really play well each week.”
 
Vining is the only freshman to make the first team this season. Carlson said the Gophers intend to redshirt Campbell Fisher, and Jones has yet to make the first team.
 
“Based on their performances so far, Vining is a step ahead,” Carlson said when comparing the freshmen.