Joey Vrzich, the Nevada men's golf team's top returning player, has decided to transfer to Pepperdine.
Vrzich, who earned 2019 All-Mountain West honors, told Nevada Sports Net on Thursday of the move. Vrzich won two individual events last season along with two runner-up finishes. He was a key cog on Nevada's back-to-back NCAA Regional teams.
"I'm going to miss my Wolf Pack teammates and especially coach Mike Paul," Vrzich told Nevada Sports Nevada in a text message. "I'm thankful for everything he did for me during my time at Nevada."
Vrzich, a sophomore last season, was a two-time MW golfer of the month last year while winning the Badger Invite and the Nick Watney Invitational. He compiled a scoring average of 71.76 strokes per round, which was the sixth best in a single season in program history. His two-year career scoring average of 72.30 is the second best for a Nevada golfer. Vrzich carded a program-best 61 at the Visit Stockton Pacific Invitational.
Vrzich put his name in the NCAA transfer portal shortly after last season. Unlike other sports, golfers are allowed to transfer from one Division I school to another without having to sit out a season, so Vrzich is eligible immediately with two years to play for Pepperdine.
Pepperdine is one of the nation's top programs. The Waves, who won the 1997 national championship, qualified for nationals last season for the 10th time in program history. Pepperdine finished 11th at nationals and all five of its scorers are eligible to return this season. The Waves were 14th in the final GolfStat rankings and 16th in the final Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. A move to Pepperdine also will get Vrzich, an El Cajon, Calif., native, closer to home and grant him the opportunity to play year-round, something not afforded to golfers in Northern Nevada.
Nevada finished 49th and 50th in the national rankings last season, falling just shy of reaching nationals. Vrzich is the second Wolf Pack golfer eligible to return to Nevada next season to take a different route.
Stephen Osborne, a Bishop Manogue graduate, decided to turn pro following his junior season (he had earned his degree). Nevada is still expected to return three members of its five-man starting group in Sam Harned, who just qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship, Sam Meek and Tony Gil. Each will be seniors next season. Nevada recently added Texas A&M transfer Peyton Callens, who joins Cam Kellett and Galena High graduate Connor Motherway among the team's fall newcomers.