58 or 59; over the last decade or so, many pro teams (and probably college teams, too) have changed from having the holder 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage, to 8 yards, to reduce the chance of having a kick blocked. This is especially relevant on long field goals, where the kicker will try to hit the ball with a lower trajectory (for maximum distance), which also leads to a higher chance of it being blocked.
Even if the kicker in question has a strong enough leg to regularly hit 50-yarders, and has successfully kicked from 53 in the past, the extra 5 or 6 yards in this case can make a huge difference – 53 may well be about as far as that kid can reliably kick. Most college kickers likely don’t have enough leg for 58 or 59 yard field goals, unless they get very lucky.
If it were late in the fourth quarter, that’d be different. But, as the OP describes it, it was late in the 3rd quarter. If the kicker makes a 58-yarder, awesome, his team has a one-point lead, but that’s fairly meaningless, with over a quarter to play.
But, if he misses it (and I would guess that he probably would), then instead of giving the other team the ball somewhere around their 20 yard line (which you’d do with a punt), you’re instead giving them the ball around midfield – unless they try to return the missed field goal, which they shouldn’t, they’d take possession of the ball at the spot where the kick was attempted (the 48 or 49 yard line). This means that you’ve given the opponent outstanding field position, with which they have a good chance of extending their lead.
The punt gives your team very good odds of getting the ball back without having given up additional points, with plenty of time left in the game to score, and then take the lead, ideally leaving little time left on the clock for the other team to score again.
OTOH, if this situation had presented itself late in the 4th quarter, and the team can’t be sure that they’ll be able to get the ball back with enough time to try to score, then that’s the time for trying a low-percentage field goal attempt.