The Mount Vernon Nazarene College men's golf team has made one major stride to ensure the success of the program as the Cougars have signed top recruit Sam McGraw, Jr.
McGraw is a native of South Vienna, Ohio, and a 1998 graduate of Northeastern High School. As a member of his high school team, he was selected to the Central Buckeye Conference First Team, the All-County First Team, and the All-Area First Team each of his final three seasons. He also finished 12th at the state tournament his senior year.
Besides playing on his high school team, McGraw also traveled on the Nike Junior Winter Tour. He was part of an 11-person Nike Junior All-American Team that was determined by a season long points race. He won the fourth annual Winternational Junior Series of Golf (the final tournament of the tour) on the Melrose Course at the Daufuskie Island (SC) Resort by firing a six-over par 150.
With all of his success, McGraw received scholarship offers from several NCAA Division I schools including the University of Cincinnati and Towson State (MD) University. However, he decided that he wanted to be a part of the MVNC golf program instead.
"I feel that in Sam we are getting one of the top recruits in the history of our program," said MVNC golf coach Mike O'Hara. "He has played in some of the top junior tournaments in the country and has done well at them. He is a quality young man who remains focused and composed during competition."
"Through all of the tournaments that he has played in, he has gained some valuable experience that is needed at the college level," O'Hara added. "He plays well in bad weather which is good since it is common during the spring in Ohio. He is also used to traveling which usually requires an adjustment for most freshmen entering college.
The Cougars finished the 1998 season with a 95-22-2 overall record (.807 winning percentage). MVNC lost three seniors to graduation including Scott Savage, the Mid-Ohio Conference Tournament medalist who advanced on to the NAIA National Tournament.
"Sam will definitely help us replace the graduating seniors from last year's team," said O'Hara. "He is someone who will make an impact right away on our program and could even be an All-American as a freshman."