Texas A&M men’s golf signs three standouts to NLIs

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COLLEGE STATION- Texas A&M men’s golf announced the signing of three standout golfers to National Letters of Intent Wednesday. Matthew Denton (Austin, Texas), Jimmy Lee (Mission, Texas) and Perre Papunen (Helsinki, Finland) will enroll in school for the 2019-20 season.

“This might be the most fundamentally sound and well-coached class we have brought to Texas A&M,” said head coach JT Higgins. “All three of these young men have such good golf swings and the ability to score. On top of that, they are mature on the course, poised and composed. Playing high-level championship golf requires the ability to stay calm and be able to think under pressure. Matthew, Jimmy and Perre have all shown the ability to succeed through adversity, both physically and emotionally. They are outstanding young men who add great talent and depth to our program as we compete for SEC and National Championships.”

Matthew Denton
Austin, Texas (Westlake High School):

Matthew Denton, who has finished second in the last two Texas 6A State Championships, comes from a family that boasts five Aggies, including his parents, Brett ’87 and Jill ’86, grandfather, aunt and uncle. Denton led the Westlake program to the state titles in both 2017 and 2018, earning All-District, All-Region and All-State honors each season. Denton was coached by Callan Nokes at Westlake, and his swing instructor is Ann Marie Gildersleeve.

Notable

· Led Westlake to 2017 & 2018 6A Texas state titles

· Placed 2nd Overall in both the 2017 & 2018 State Championships, and was the low man for his team

· Individual 2018 6A Regional Champion

· Runner-up at the 2017 6A Regional

· Named All-State, All-Region and All-District in 2017 and 2018

Higgins on Denton:

“Matthew comes from one of the best high school golf programs in the State of Texas. Led by Coach Matt Nokes, Westlake High School is always in the running for the State Championship and his players are always strong competitors who know what it takes to win as a team. Ann Marie Gildersleeve has worked with him since he was young and he has developed outstanding fundamentals. Matthew has a great head on his shoulders, a big heart and plays with a cool demeanor. When you are building a team and looking for a future leader, he is exactly what you are looking for. Matthew keeps the ball in play off the tee and possesses an outstanding short game. He comes from a long line of Aggies, so he has obviously been brought up right.”

Denton on signing with Texas A&M:

“I have grown up an Aggie and the university has always been a great part of my life. The coaches, facilities and resources are the best in the country. All Aggies – from the former students to current students – are a family who take pride in loyalty, respect, honor and discipline. At A&M, I hope to win SEC and NCAA Teams Championships and earn my degree.”

Jun Min (Jimmy) Lee, Mission, Texas (Sharyland High School):

Jimmy Lee, the third-ranked recruit in Texas and the 12th-ranked recruit nationally by Junior Golf Scoreboard, is one of the most decorated junior golfers in the country. Lee has won three district championships at Sharyland High School, and finished third at the 2018 5A Texas State Championship. Lee, coached by Ashley Garza at Sharyland with Carlos Espinosa as his swing instructor, earned First Team All-Valley and first team all-state selections in both 2017 and 2018.

Notable

· Ranked as the No. 12 prospect in the country and No. 3 in Texas by Junior Golf Scoreboard

· Three-time District Champion (2016, 2017 & 2018)

· 2018 Regional Champion

· Finished third at the at 2018 5A Texas State High School Championship

· Named First Team All-State and First Team All-Valley in 2017 and 2018

Higgins on Lee:

“Jimmy is one of the top juniors in the entire country. He plays for Coach Garza at Sharyland and has had the good fortune of being mentored by one of the very best instructors in South Texas, Carlos Espinosa. The first thing that strikes you when you see Jimmy is his smile. It’s infectious and it is obvious that he loves being on the golf course. He plays with passion, grit and thrives on the competition. Jimmy is a terrific ball-striker with terrific speed, has good hands and gives himself a chance to score every time he tees it up. He will be a valuable and integral part of this team, on and off the course, and could make an immediate impact next season.”

Lee on singing with Texas A&M:

“I love the community at Texas A&M. I have dreamed of going to a college with that kind of spirit since I was growing up in Korea. Texas A&M is special because of its traditions, which you can’t find anything like it anywhere else. At A&M, I hope to become the best person I can be, become a leader on the golf team and lead us to a National Championship.”

Perre Papunen, Helsinki, Finland (Makelanrinne Sport High School):

Perre Papunen, a member of the Finland National Team since 2013, comes to A&M as one of the top golfers from Europe. Papunen has won several international tournaments, including the 2014 Irish U16 Boys Championship, the 2015 Finland U16 Match Play Championship, and the 2016 Sotogrande International Young Talents Trophy. In addition, coached by Pasi Purhonen at Makelanrinne Sport High School, Papunen won the 2016 and 2017 Finland U18 National Team Championship. Papunen, whose swing coach is Petteri Nykky, also registered a runner-up finish at the 2015 Finland U16 stroke play championship and a third-place finish at the 2017 Finland U18 stroke play championship.

Notable

· Member of the Finland National Team since 2013

· Won the 2014 Irish U16 Boys Championship

· Won the 2015 Finland U16 National Match Play Championship

· Won the 2016 Sotogrande International Young Talents Trophy

· Won two Finland U18 National Team Championships (2016 & 2017)

· Runner-up at the 2015 Finland U16 Stroke Play Championship

· Third place at the 2017 Finland U18 National Stroke Play Championship

· Second place finish at the 2017 Finland Men’s National Team Championship

· Third place finish at the 2017 Finland Men’s National Team Championship

Higgins on Papunen:

“Perre is great talent. He is a big and strong with good speed and he can really move it off the tee. While we are not as familiar with the coaches in Finland, both Coach Purhonen and Coach Nykky have taught him well, as he has sound fundamentals and a terrific swing. He competes internationally in both team and individual competitions for Finland’s Elite Team and that’s always a big plus for us to have that experience at the highest levels of team golf. He will come in ready to compete on the first day of school and has the ability to make an instant impact on the team.”

Papunen on signing with Texas A&M:

“I chose Texas A&M because it is the best place for me to improve as a golfer and student. The Aggie golf program is one of the best, producing many PGA Tour players and fighting for National Championships. The facilities were also a big factor in my decision. The practice facilities are incredible – it is everything a golfer could dream of. I also really like the environment. The campus is great and the people were really friendly when I visited. A&M offers me everything I am looking for.”