Men's Golf Lands Premier Signing Class
BATON ROUGE — The LSU men’s golf team has inked one of the nation’s premier signing classes for the second straight season as head coach Chuck Winstead received National Letters of Intent from three of the nation’s top junior golfers Friday.
Sang Yi of Carrollton, Texas, Josh Jones of The Colony, Texas, and Austin Gutgsell of Mandeville, La., are members of a recruiting class ranked No. 4 in the country for the Class of 2008 by Golfweek and will be eligible to compete for the Tigers in the 2008-09 season.
Yi and Jones are considered the top two prospects in the state of Texas for the Class of 2008 and have established themselves as two of the nation’s premier junior golfers regardless of class.
Yi is currently the 12th-ranked junior golfer in the country and the 10th-ranked prospect for the Class of 2008, while Jones is the nation’s 19th-ranked junior golfer overall and the 16th-ranked player in his classification according to the latest Golfweek Junior Rankings.
2008-09 Men’s Golf Signees
“I couldn’t be more pleased that Josh and Sang have signed and will play their college golf here at LSU,” Winstead said. “They are the type of players that can make LSU Golf a nationally competitive program and the type of individuals that will make our fans proud. They have proven themselves at the highest levels of junior golf, are great friends and come from truly special families. There is no limit to where their talents can take them.”
Yi has proven himself against the nation’s best junior golfers as he boasts extensive tournament experience as a member of the prestigious American Junior Golf Association, while he competed in the match play competition at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in 2004 and 2006.
Yi has earned a total of six top-10 finishes as a member of the AJGA while he won his first tournament title in an AJGA sponsored event in April after claiming medalist honors at the 2007 PING Junior at The Woodlands in his home state. For his efforts, Yi was named a Second-Team Rolex Junior All-American following the 2007 season.
The Carrollton native has also proven himself in match play as he helped lead the West squad to the team title at the 2007 Canon Cup this summer after posting an impressive 3-1 record in match play competition at The Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tenn.
The AJGA sponsored Canon Cup matches the top 10 juniors from east of the Mississippi River against the top 10 juniors from the west in an event reminiscent of the Ryder Cup.
“Sang has tremendous skills and works on improving himself every day. He has big dreams playing the game of golf,” Winstead said. “He’s the type of young man you love to be around. Sang loves life. He’ll be the type of player that fans of LSU Golf will be proud to know for years to come. We couldn’t be more pleased that he’s decided to continue his development at LSU.”
Jones is one of the most decorated junior golfers in the country and has decided to continue his career at LSU after being named a Rolex Junior All-American in each of the last three years, while he was also a finalist for the AJGA Jerry Cole Sportsmanship Award in 2007.
Like Yi, Jones is a proven winner and has tested himself against the nation’s best junior golfers as an active member of the AJGA. He has earned a total of 18 top-10 finishes in AJGA sponsored events during his illustrious junior career, including an impressive seven runner-up finishes.
Jones teamed with Yi to lead the West squad to victory at the 2007 Canon Cup this summer, while he was also a member of the West squad that won the team title at the Canon Cup in 2006. He also qualified for the match play competition at the 2006 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship.
In addition, Jones has won numerous tournaments as a member of both the Northern Texas PGA Junior Tour and the Texas Junior Golf Tour, while he is a three-time TJGT Player of the Year.
“Josh has enjoyed a tremendous record in junior golf. I’m not sure if anyone has had more top 10s or more runner-up finishes at that level of competition than he has had in the junior ranks,” Winstead said. “His talent for the game is only matched by the quality of his character. Josh is the type of player that can leave his mark on our program for years to come.”
Gutgsell has established himself as one of the top prospects in Louisiana as he is the 89th-ranked junior golfer in the country for the Class of 2008 in the latest Golfweek Junior Rankings.
Gutgsell is the reigning Louisiana Golf Association Junior Amateur Champion after claiming this year’s title with the lowest 54-hole score in tournament history at 11-under 205 at Beaver Creek Golf Club in Zachary, finishing six strokes ahead of his nearest competitor.
The Mandeville native is also coming off of a Top 10 finish at the 32nd Westfield Junior PGA Championship in Westfield Center, Ohio, this summer as he fired a tournament low 6-under 65 in the final round to finish eighth. Former LSU All-American and 2001 PGA Champion David Toms won the Jack Nicklaus Trophy at the event in 1984.
In addition, Gutgsell has also been an active participant in the AJGA during his junior career and won medalist honors at the AJGA Medicus Preseason Junior at Texarkana in April.
“Austin is a polished young man who comes from a great family,” Winstead said. “I’m very happy that he decided to join us here at LSU. He had a tremendous summer, shooting 65 to finish top 10 in one of the best fields in junior golf and breaking the scoring record to win the Louisiana Junior title is evidence of his ability.
“We’ll see great things from Austin in his time at LSU. I truly believe Austin’s best golf is in front of him. I think we really have a great addition to our team in Austin, and we’ve only caught a small glimpse of the capabilities of this young man.”
Winstead has quickly established himself as one of the nation’s top recruiters in his three years at LSU, and the Tigers will field one of the more talented young squads in the country in 2008-09. In addition to signing Yi, Jones and Gutgsell this season, Winstead signed a stellar class last year that featured blue chippers Andrew Loupe, John Peterson and Clayton Rotz.
“I’m very excited about the future of LSU golf,” Winstead said. “These three young men are exactly the ones we wanted to sign in this class. There isn’t a player in the 2008 class that I’d trade for these three young men. I’m just ready to get them in here and tee it up.”