The University of Arkansas at Monticello men’s golf team recently signed four new golfers while the women’s golf team added three, according to separate news releases from UAM head golf coach Adam Buie.
Signees to the men’s golf team
T.J. Baker from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada, Carson Garner from Hot Springs, Chase Gedak from Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada and Tyler Quinn from New Caney Texas will join the men’s team next year.
“We had a ton of success recruiting for the 2020 class signing four men,” Buie said. “This will be a very large freshmen class to offset us losing three seniors (Stephane Perrin, Wilson Powell, Jeffrey Whitson) that have been a large part of the program the last 3.5 years. We have a good mix of in state talent as well as out.”
T. J. Baker comes south to Monticello from Canada. In 2017, he was the Under 15 Golf Saskatchewan Order of Merit Winner while winning Provincials with rounds of 78-78-75. He posted multiple strong finishes on the Maple Junior Tour with a win at the Legends 75-74, and the Golf SASK OOM Championship 75-69, he also captured a 2nd place at MJT Highlands with a 75-74 for the event.
As a senior he placed 17th out of 46 at the Future Links-Prairie Championship firing 77-80-78, and he won his high school district with a round of 73 also coming in sixth at the WCSG Chinook Golf Course shooting 77-76-76. Baker is the 55th best golfer in Canada according to Junior Golf Scoreboard and is also a competitor in hockey. He will look to major in Business at UAM.
Chase Gedak joins the Weevils from Canada as well. He is a solid junior golfer who also competes in hockey. He competed in the Canadian Junior Championship this summer where he shot 76-73 to finish in the top half of a national field. He was a winner of his high school Provincial championship by 11 shots shooting rounds of 69-74 in tough conditions. He also won the Moose Mountain Classic. He posted 73-78-73 to finish 6th out of 48 at the Future Links-Prairie Championship.
He is the 49th best player in Canada according to Junior Golf Scoreboard. Academically he has made the honor roll every semester while in school. He plans on majoring in Business Management while in Monticello.
“T.J. Baker and Chase Gedak both hail from Saskatchewan, Canada about eight hours apart from each other and were both interested in going to school together in the US,” Buie said. “These guys are solid athletes that compete in hockey and will also love being in the South where they can work on their games more outside yearly.”
Carson Garner comes to UAM from Lakeside School in Hot Springs where he played golf for his older sister, Kirsten Garner. He comes from a strong golfing family, as both his sister Kirsten and brother Seth played collegiately at Arkansas State. Seth played under Coach Steve Johnson who is now the General Manager at Monticello Country Club.
“Carson Garner was the first to commit,” Buie said. “He comes to us from Lakeside High School in Hot Springs. Carson comes from a good family with golf ties. Once we got Carson on campus for a visit, he was sold on helping me build the program. He led to more people following him to UAM.”
Garner has some great accolades himself being named all-conference all four years at Lakeside. He was named to the Arkansas All-State team as a junior and senior. This season, he won the conference championship with a round of 68. His low round this year was a 67 where he won medalist honors at Hurricane Creek in Bryant. He also won the Bruce Jenkins Memorial at Rebsamen Park in Little Rock with rounds of 72-72. Carson was awarded with Academic Excellence in Orientation to Teaching 1&2 as well as Algebra. He is looking to major in Middle Level Education at UAM.
Tyler Quinn shifts over from Texas to Monticello after being the Houston Golf Association (HGA) player of the year. He was also an accomplished player and winner on the STPGA Tour. He qualified for the US Junior Amateur tournament which is a large national event and was first team all-district all four years in high school.
Academically, he is 12th in his class of 443, is a member of the National Honor Society and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Quinn picked up a win in November at the STPGA Gobble Classic shooting 72-75 beating out 51 other competitors. He also got a sixth place out of 75 players in July at the STPGA Shootout in the Hills shooting 70-73.
“Tyler Quinn is another talented individual from New Caney, Texas, a Houston suburb,” Buie said. “Tyler qualified for the US Junior Am which shows he is a very capable golfer. All four of these young men will be able to compete and play from day one next fall. This group is very excited, and I have told them they will be the base of the team going forward as they will almost literally be half the men’s squad.”
UAM men’s golf team is set to begin its spring 2020 season on February 10, at the Southern Nazarene Houston Classic in Houston, Texas.
Signees to the women’s golf team
Ouname Mhotsha from Gaborone, Botswana, will join the women’s roster this spring while high school seniors Shehna Akbary from Thornhill, Ontario and Chiara Sturaro from Arqua Petrarca, Italy will join the women’s team next fall.
“We have signed three young women that are going to substantially change the program,” said head golf coach Adam Buie.
Ouname Mhotsha from Gaborone, Botswana. Mhotsha is coming to the Blossoms from Alcorn State where she graduated this fall with a perfect 4.0 grade point average in Agriculture Economics. She will be continuing her education in January at UAM aiming to get a master’s degree in Forestry and will be joining the 2020 spring roster. Alcorn State did not compete in the 2018-19 season after cutting both its golf teams, so Mhotsha is eager to get back to competition.
Prior to this season, Mhotsha was a Second Team All-SWAC honoree and was Alcorn State’s top finisher at the 2018 SWAC Championship shooting a 161 to place sixth. She also garnered two top-three finishes including a runner-up spot at the Prairie View A&M Invitational.
“Ouname Mhotsha is an older and very experienced player that will help from day one when she gets here in January,” Buie said. “She is a super student who graduated with a 4.0 GPA and is going to get a master’s degree in Forestry at UAM. She came in sixth place at the SWAC Championship in 2018.”
Shehna Akbary currently attends the Westmount Collegiate Institute in Thornhill, Ontario making a name for herself very early on in golf after being on regional television at just 12 years old. She is ranked the 21st best female high school golfer for her class in Canada by Junior Golf Scoreboard and has won three Canadian Junior Golf Association Events.
“Shehna Akbary is a very talented young lady from Canada who will enjoy being able to play outside year-round here in Arkansas,” Buie said. “She has been playing at a high level since she was 12 years old and will be a big boost to the team. She made an official visit with her mother and sister and I could tell immediately we would be a great fit for her.”
Akbary has placed ninth at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations Championship shooting a 76 and 78, placed 16th in the Ontario Junior Girls Spring Classic with an 83,79, and 78, and recorded a 19th place finish at the Golf Ontario Junior Girls Championship with rounds of 73-82-78-80. She also picked up 17 total wins on the Pepsi-Titleist Junior Tour throughout her career shooting 72,73,74,76 and 78 in one day events. She also has won the Barrie Country Club Ladies Championship with solid rounds of 76-76 breaking the club scoring record. Academically she was also very strong being named an Honor Roll student every year of high school. Shehna is looking to study Psychology at UAM.
Chiara Sturaro will be joining the Blossoms from Italy next Fall. She is a very accomplished junior golfer in Europe and is currently ranked as the 73rd best Amateur female golfer in Italy.
“Chiara Sturaro is the first player I have signed from Italy, so we are all excited to meet her and learn about her ways of life,” Buie said. “Chiara is also a very solid player that has competed at the highest levels in Italy.”
Sturaro has several good finishes on her resume including winning the Montecchia Golf Academy Trophy with scores of 79-69. She captured a 4th place at the Montecchia by Tecma Gran Prix with scores of 77-74. Chiara also has competed at the Regional and National level in Italy placing in third place at the Italian A2 Team Championships with rounds of 84-80-77. Other finishes for her included the City of Treviso Gran Prix: 8th place scores 81-78-76 and the Padua Gran Prix: 12th place scores 75-81-77.
“All three of these ladies can be consistent 70s shooters at the college level,” Buie said. “I cannot wait for each to get here and get to work. The bar is going to continually get raised for women’s golf at UAM as we take it to higher levels.”
The UAM women’s golf team is set to begin its spring 2020 season on February 17 at the Robert Trent Jones Tournament hosted by Spring Hill College in Alabama on February 17.