Men’s Golf Signs Two to National Letters of Intent
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s golf team looks to continue its rise and added a pair of talented high school golfers in Drew Shepherd and Andy Spencer, who both contributed to their high school’s team state championships. KU head coach Jamie Bermel announced the signings of the National Letters of Intent (NLI) on Thursday.
Kansas, currently ranked 41st in the Golfweek.com national poll, will add Shepherd, who helped Hinsdale Central High School (HCHS) to three-straight Illinois State titles, and Spencer, who helped Shawnee Mission East High School (SMEHS) to a 2015 Kansas State Championship.
“Overall, we are very excited about the two signees and feel they will help us continue to improve the program each year,” Bermel said. “Not only are they accomplished golfers, they come from great families and will represent the team and university very well.”
Shepherd, who is a product of Chicago, is a two-sport athlete at HCHS where he also plays varsity basketball. From 2012-14, his team won the Illinois High School Golf Team State Championship. En route to the team title, Shepherd earned himself the title of Illinois High School Golf Conference Medalist in 2014.
In the summer of 2013, Shepherd had five top-10 finishes, including a victory at the Illinois Junior Golf Association (IJGA) Open No. 10 at Sportman’s Country Club, where he won the event by five strokes. He also finished tied for eighth in the second qualifier of the Chick Evans Junior Amateur (CEJA) at Oak Brook Golf Course that same summer.
“Drew has a lot of upside in his game and we are thrilled that he will be joining the team,” Bermel said. “He fits our recruiting philosophy – very athletic with a lot of upside in his game, especially when he can focus on golf in college. He is a great competitor and we couldn’t be more excited to have him for the next four years, as we think he can be a valuable contributor to the team on the golf course and in the classroom.”
Spencer was named the Kansas City Star’s All-Metro Boys Golfer of the Year, in June 2015. One month later, Spencer was awarded the Kenneth Smith Award, which is given to a Kansas City area male and female golfer who demonstrates excellence in performance, academic achievement, leadership and community service. The only other golfer from SMEHS to win this award is current KU junior Chase Hanna.
In his junior year at SMEHS, Spencer won the Kansas Class 6A golf title with SMEHS, as well as the Sunflower League Tournament. By the end of his junior season, Spencer had set a new school-record with a 71.2 stroke average. This past summer, Spencer won the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) at the Kansas City Country Club and has already started off his senior year at SMEHS with a second-place finish at the Kansas City Metro Match Play Championship.
“We are excited to get Andy,” Bermel said. “We have been recruiting him for three years and he has improved tremendously and will come to KU with a lot of national playing experience. In 24 years of recruiting, I have never signed an AJGA Champion as Andy will be the first, winning the AJGA Lockton event in Kansas City this past summer. His parents graduated from KU and needless to say Andy had a lot of options, but obviously he felt good about our program.”
Kansas logged five top-five finishes this fall, including two team victories and an individual title for Senior Ben Welle. The Jayhawks will open the spring season on February 29 compete at the Louisiana Classics Invitational.
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