Long off the tee
Senior captain dreams of taking his game to the PGA Tour.
Whether Franklin Corpening can accomplish his dream of playing on the PGA Tour remains to be seen, but the TCU Horned Frogs' senior captain is drawing comparisons to some pretty heavy hitters.
"He's got that one ingredient that's hard to teach: He's extremely long, and he's also straight off the tee," golf coach Bill Montigel said. "I've been here for 21 years and he's one of the longest hitters we've ever had. J.J. Henry was always real long, and Franklin is in that same class."
Corpening's driving distance served him well in high school, where he won the TAPPS 3A state title as a freshman at Fort Worth Southwest Christian and was a two-time district champion at Fort Worth Paschal.
"In high school, I could hit it 50 yards past the other guys," he said. "We didn't play very long courses, so I'd always be up by the green. I'd just have to chip it up there and make a putt. It's a lot different in college."
Making the transition to college golf has meant refining other parts of his game, and Corpening admits that's a work in progress. His putting has improved significantly this season, but his chipping and iron play have been inconsistent. He finished the regular season with a 73.66-stroke average.
Corpening posted four Top 15 finishes, including a pair of fourth-place efforts at the MacDonald Cup and the National Invitational Cup. TCU won both events.
Montigel hopes to see an even better performance when the Frogs open play in the Mountain West Conference Championships.
"I really think his best golf is yet to come," Montigel said. "Every year he's been here his short game has gotten better, and I think he's ready to win another golf tournament. He's capable of taking his game much higher and playing on the PGA Tour one day."
Doing so would fulfill a lifelong dream for Corpening, who grew up playing at Colonial and rubbing elbows with some of the game's greats. He has developed a close relationship with former Texas A&M standout Ryan Palmer, who is now playing on the Tour.
"He's really helped prepare me for what it will be like after college," Corpening said. "Some guys are really good and they think it's going to be easy, but they just get broadsided when they try to make the Tour. He's told me to just take it slow and work my way into it."
Corpening said his father Joe also has been a major influence. After cheering his son on at amateur and high school events, Joe Corpening has allowed Franklin to be on his own in college.
He's attended only one tournament -- which Corpening won.
As his career winds down, Corpening thinks it might be time to bring his dad back onto the course.
"We're going to have a talk about that," he said. "Hopefully he can make the last couple of stops with me and we can win another one."
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