Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Augenstein intended to turn pro last spring.
“John had this idea and dream in his mind, for years, that he would finish playing in the national championship for Vanderbilt, and then he would turn pro right after that,” remembered Vanderbilt coach Scott Limbaugh, who recruited Augenstein as a scrawny high schooler from Owensboro, Kentucky.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Augenstein would have competed in the Masters and U.S. Open – in between, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sociology – and turned pro in the middle of the year.
But the NCAA Championship was cancelled and the two majors that he earned exemptions into as the U.S. Amateur runner-up were delayed until the fall.
Augenstein extended his amateur career, began Vanderbilt graduate-school coursework, and competed in the U.S. Open (missed cut) and Masters (T55). He announced his decision to turn pro in a heartfelt letter to the Vanderbilt community on Nov. 23.
Now he turns his attention to professional competition, aiming to channel that ‘grit and guts’ into strong early returns. He will wear Oakley’s innovative apparel and eyewear, which includes Prizm Lens Technology to enhance color and contrast and allow players to see the course in greater detail.
“I fully intend to get my PGA TOUR card this year,” Augenstein said. “There’s not a doubt in my mind. You can never guarantee anything in athletics – nothing is guaranteed – all I know is that I have to do my best to take advantage of the opportunities that I get.
“I’m excited to be in this situation that I’m in. A lot of guys my age have done it in the past two, three years, and historically, so what I’m trying to do is certainly a challenging thing, but it’s attainable. A lot of great players have done it, and some great players that are up at the top of the leaderboards each week went to Q-School and went to the Korn Ferry Tour and made their way onto the PGA TOUR.”
Augenstein plans to devote his full attention to each opportunity as it comes. He can earn additional starts by finishing in the top 10 in a TOUR event – which guarantees a spot in the next open event – or Monday qualifiers.