COLLEGE STATION – Three of the nation’s top junior golfers have signed national letters-of-intent to play college golf at Texas A&M, head coach J.T. Higgins said Wednesday.
Cameron Peck (Olympia, Wash.), Ryan Kelley (The Woodlands, Texas) and Ryan Blair (Center Valley, Pa.) will join the Aggies for the 2009-10 season.
Led by Peck, the 2008 Rolex Junior National Player of the Year, the class is rated as one of the best in the country this season and among the best in school history.
"This was an important recruiting class for us because we are losing four outstanding young men to graduation -- Bronson Burgoon, Clay Hodge, Austin Schauer and Matt Van Zandt,” Higgins said. “Cameron will be expected to step right in and contribute. Kelley and Blair also have the ability to compete for a spot right off the bat and if they are competitive with our returning players, then our team will be in great shape. All three of these young men will be tremendous representatives of Texas A&M and a great addition to our athletic department and university. They are quality people both on and off the golf course and we are really looking forward to watching them grow, develop and mature over the coming years.”
Peck is one of the most accomplished athletes ever to sign with A&M in any sport. In addition to his player of the year honors, he is ranked as the No. 1 player nationally in the Polo Golf Rankings and earned first-team All-America honors by the American Junior Golf Association.
He also was the 2008 Washington junior player of the year and helped the U.S. defeat Great Britain and Ireland in the 2008 Junior Ryder Cup.
Peck won the 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, earning a two-year exemption into the U.S. Amateur. He also won two other major AJGA tournaments in 2008 – the HP Boys’ Junior and the Footjoy Invitational, which earned him a sponsor’s exemption into the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship in August. Pecv captured an addition AJGA tournament title at the Wellstone Communities Junior.
He finished fourth at the AJGA event at Traditiions Golf Club in Bryan, placed fifth at the Junior Players Championship and took 11th at the Rolex Tournament of Champions. Peck is a senior at Timberline High School.
"We have signed some outstanding players the last few years, but none have come close to achieving what Cameron has at the junior level,” Higgins said. “He won three major championships, including the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, has played in a PGA Tour event and represented his country in the Junior Ryder Cup. He not only competes but wins at the highest level. You can’t win at that level, that often, without knowing how to play. He attacks the golf course and plays with absolutely no fear. Physically he is amazing but mentally, he is as tough as they come. That combination of physical ability, mental toughness and the will to win is what makes him the best player in the country.
"Cameron is a difference-maker who should make an immediate impact on our team,” Higgins added. “On top of all that, he is an outstanding student, a black-belt in karate and treats his parents with respect. We couldn't ask for more and we are really looking forward to him joining our team."
Kelley helped The Woodlands High School to a runner-up finish at the 2008 state tournament. He advanced to match play at the 2007 U.S. Junior after winning a qualifier played in North Dakota.
Kelley has posted five top-20 finishes in AJGA events, including a 16TH-place effort at the AJGA Championship at Traditions played in Bryan.
"I am really excited about Ryan and his future at Texas A&M,” Higgins said. “Of all the players we considered to join our team, Ryan has the most potential and I think he is going to be an outstanding college golfer. He is the top player for one of the best high school programs in the country and his coach, Steve Cribari, knows what it takes to compete at this level. His teaching pro, Kevin Kirk, is as good as there is with the golf swing.
“Ryan has had great coaching to this point and it is really starting to show in his game and scores,” Higgins said. “He is one of the best players in the state of Texas, he has been successful on the national level and I think he will be even more successful on the collegiate stage."
Blair is a senior at Lehigh Valley High School, where he has twice won the district title. He was runner-up at the 2007 regional and is a two-time Lehigh Valley High School player of the year.
Blair set a course record with a 60 in a high school match in 2007 and carded a 62 in another match on the following day.
In 2008, Blair won three times and finished runner-up twice in five consecutive International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) events, including a victory at the season-ending IJGT National Championship at Sawgrass Country Club in Florida.
He earned All-America honors by the IJGT after placing fifth on the order of merit and finished 28th at 2008 Junior World Championship at Torrey Pines Golf Club in San Diego.
"Ryan Blair is another player who flew a little under the radar but who has been very successful in Pennsylvania and against national and international competition,” Higgins said. “Ryan is a very athletic player with solid fundamentals and good length off the tee. He has shown the ability to shoot low scores under tournament conditions and has held his own on championship courses such as Sawgrass and Torrey Pines. He has the ability to be a terrific college golfer."
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