TULSA, Okla.. – The Oral Roberts men's golf team has five newcomers slated to join the squad for the 2016-17 season, it was announced by the coaching staff Thursday.
Grayson Jones – Texarkana, Ark. // Texas High School
Jones is a National Honor Society member at Texas High School, where he won the 2013-14 District Championship and finished ninth in the 2014-15 State Championship under Coach Jay Brewer. He ranks 11th in Texas and 109th overall according to Junior Golf Scoreboard and has earned all-district honors three times and all-region honors twice. In 2013-14 he was an honorable mention all-state selection after holing out on 18 in the district championship to force a playoff which he eventually won, and earned all-state honors in 2014-15. The son of Cindy and Geoff Jones, Grayson will major in sports management at ORU but hopes to pursue a professional golf career. Father, Geoff, was a professional golfer and grandfather, Tommy Aycock, was on the PGA Tour. Jones chose ORU over Arkansas State, Little Rock and Rutgers because he felt ORU was the best fit for him academically and athletically. He also chose the Golden Eagles because the golf team practices and plays on some of the best courses in the country.
Coach Watson on Jones
"Grayson is one of the most explosive golfers I have seen. He is incredibly long off the tee and hits the ball like a tour pro, when he figures out his short game and putting the sky is the limit for him. We are looking forward to seeing him work hard and improve his process.....when he does, watch out!"
Riley Kovach – 6-6 – 195 – Highland Village, Texas // Edward S. Marcus HS
Kovach will join ORU from Edward S. Marcus HS in Highland Village, Texas, where he has been named the Magnificent Marauder/Outstanding Student three times, and won the Victorious Warrior Marcus Golf Award. He was a first team all-district selection and a second team all-region selection in 2015. During the summer of 2014, he hit a hole-in-one. The son of Stacy and Jeff Kovach, Riley chose to come to ORU because of the Christian atmosphere, business school and opportunity to play golf. His father, Jeff, was an Academic All-American basketball player at Tulsa. Golfweek/Sagarin has Kovach ranked 39th in Texas for the class of 2016.
Coach Watson on Kovach
"Riley is one of the most underrated players in Texas. Standing tall at 6-6 and only having played tournament golf for 18 months we think the sky is the limit for Riley. He has great demeanor on the course as well as great length, superb touch/stroke on the greens. We think Riley can be as good as he wants to be and makes a great addition to this year's class."
Carter Marcontell – 6-2 – 170 – Southlake, Texas // Southlake Carroll HS
A senior at Southlake Carroll HS, Marcontell and his squad won the 2015 6A Texas State Championship under Coach Matt Glenn. The son of Donnie and Kelly Marcontell, Carter chose to join ORU because the school will allow him to develop as a golfer, student and most importantly as a whole person. According to Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, Marcontell is ranked 333rd overall and 49th in the state of Texas for the 2016 class.
Coach Watson on Marcontell
"Carter has one of the best swings I have ever seen. He possesses great length with a silky-smooth and technically superb swing. Once he 'figures it out' he is going to be an exciting player to have around. He has great demeanor on the course and we are looking forward to seeing his progress over the next 4 years."
Hunter Laughlin – 5-10 – 170 – Mangum, Okla. // Mangum HS
Laughlin is finishing his senior year at Mangum High School, where he competes for his grandfather, Coach Merlin Nippert, and will be one of the first golfers from MHS to play at a Division I school. Junior Golf Scoreboard has Laughlin ranked ninth in the state of Oklahoma for 2016. He was the class 2A state runner up in 2015 and was the class 3A runner-up in the state preview. He has won multiple tournaments at the 2A level. Off the course, Laughlin is an all-conference honorable mention basketball player. The son of Doug and Lori Laughlin, his grandfather played baseball at Oklahoma State and then professionally for the Boston Red Sox. Also recruited by Colorado State and UMKC, Laughlin chose ORU because he fell in love with the campus and practice facilities.
"Hunter is one of the top players out of Oklahoma this year. He is under the radar a little but has shot some terrific scores and underlines our commitment to grow through Oklahoma. Hunter possesses great length and has a fire that runs through him and a willingness to do whatever it takes to win. Coming to the exceptional golf courses we have here in Tulsa will only benefit his game as he continues his growth over the next 4 years."
Jack Howes – 5-11 – 145 – McKinney, Texas // McKinney Boyd HS
Howes will come to ORU as a freshman from McKinney Boyd HS where he was an honor roll student as well as the Dallas City Champion as a 14 and 15 year old. He was the low qualifier for the PGA Junior Championship and finished 28th at The Championship. He was third in his district as a sophomore, tied for fourth at the Texas Cup, and was the Club Champion in match play. Junior Golf Scoreboard touts Howes as the highest ranked golfer in the Golden Eagles' signing class at 74th overall and 10th in the state of Texas. In addition to golf, Howes played soccer and baseball in high school. He was an all-district and all-state honorable mention selection in 2014. The son of Jeff and Karla Howes, Jack was also recruited by North Texas, Colorado State, Air Force and Houston Baptist, Howes chose ORU because it was a great opportunity to further his golf career with great coaches and the chance to play on great courses.
Coach Watson on Howes
"Jack is one of the top young players in the country. He has been tried and tested in the heat of Texas Junior Golf which is the strongest in the country. He has played in all the big events and has strong finishes across the board. He plays for a legendary High school Coach Jerry Crumpton and we are looking forward to his fire, quality and work ethic to lead the team over the next 4 years."
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