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Sawin Follows The Path Of His Mentor

Twenty-eight-year-old John Sawin won the Stocker Cup two weeks ago, the biggest win of his amateur career, and a guy who deserves more than a little credit for Sawin’s success is J. Stuart Francis. That comes as no surprise to the many who know and admire Francis, who goes simply by the name of Stu. Sawin, a native of Philadelphia, played collegiate golf at Princeton, where he first encountered Francis; it was a life-altering meeting. More about that later. There was a day when Princeton was a national force in men’s college golf, winning the NCAA Championship 12 times between 1914 and 1940. Today, the school is a regional factor; the Tigers won the Ivy League championship in 2013, the 18th time they have prevailed since 1979, and occasionally find themselves in the NCAA Regionals. The last time Princeton advanced to the championship proper was 1980.
Francis found his way to Princeton from a very small town near Cleveland, where he was introduced to the game by his father at age 4. (His father played No. 1 at the University of Cincinnati and was a single-digit player for most of his life.) A public high school dual athlete, Francis enrolled at Princeton in 1970 and played basketball his freshman year; he gave that up to focus on golf after being the last man cut during his sophomore year. It turned out to be a good move, as he would go on to become one of the most accomplished players in Princeton golf history. He was an All-American in 1973 and a key cog in the two Ivy League championships the team won during his time. He was co-captain of the 1974 team that went undefeated (14-0) in team dual matches, which was the prevalent form of competition at the time. While he played for Princeton, the team went 36-3-1.


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