Patriots announce three golf team additions

Patriots announce three golf team additions

Francis Marion University golf coach Mark Gaynor has announced the signing of three players to national letters of intent: John Burghardt of Oakville, Ontario, Canada; Jacob Morris of Hollywood, S.C., and McClure Thompson of Little River, S.C.

Burghardt, a 5-8 southpaw, is a product of St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Secondary School, where he played under the direction of coaches Jambrosich and Bailey.  He registered a 73.98 stroke average this past year and was named his team's most valuable player.

He has played with the Glen Abbey U19 Junior Golf program under coach Sean Casey, and has been a member of the CJGA Team Canada squad on several occasions.  Over the past two years, he has placed first at five events and posted ten Top-10 showings.

Morris, a 6-2 right-hander, is a graduate of the Charleston Charter School for Math and Science.  Playing for West Ashley High School this past year, he earned All-Region honors and tied for 51st at the 2017 AAAAA State Tournament.  He has played under the direction of coaches Kelly White, Shaun Haggerty, and Chance Cole.

Thompson, a 5-9 righty, comes to FMU from North Myrtle Beach High School, where he played for coaches David Small and Newt Merricks.  He garnered All-Region honors as a senior, placed second at the 7-AAAA Region Tournament, and finished seventh at the AAAA State Tournament with a two-over-par 146 tally.

Over the past year, he has recorded 13 Top-10 finishes, including winning the 2016 HJS Prestwick and the HJS The Reserve events.

"I am very excited about this group, including the two South Carolina products," Gaynor said.  "We are looking to create a buzz about our program in the state and highlight what Francis Marion has to offer both in the area of academics and golf. 

"Morris owns a Top-100 ranking in the SCJGA and has been in the Top-50 recently.  Thompson recently moved up to 19th in the rankings and is seventh among graduating seniors.  Burghardt comes in as a mature freshman having taken a year off after his high school graduation.  I feel that in him we have found a hidden gem. He fell in love with the university after visiting from Canada.

"All three players are very talented.  I am not at all worried about their skill set, and am anxiously looking forward to seeing their impact at the collegiate level.  With all six of our players returning from 2016-17, I look forward to the competition our newcomers will create in practice.  I have always felt that competition breeds success."

The trio joins Michael Rials of Florence who signed during the winter early signing period.

As Gaynor stated, all six golfers return from the 2016-17 Patriot squad.  Francis Marion recorded a pair of Top-10 team finishes and eight Top-15 showings last season.