Charlottesville, VA - Virginia men's golf coach Bowen Sargent announced that four top junior players have signed national letters of intent and will begin competing for the Cavaliers next fall. The signing class includes Alex Lloyd of Virginia Beach, Va., Jack Gibbs of Evans, Ga., Kyle Kochevar of Glen Ellyn, Ill. and Nick McLaughlin of New Castle, N.H. Kochevar and McLaughlin were honored as junior All-Americans this year.
"The 2012 recruiting class is a very important class as Alex, Jack, Kyle and Nick will be asked to replace the likes of two-time ACC Player of the Year Ben Kohles and a very consistent starter in fourth-year Bruce Woodall," Sargent said. "As with all of our recruiting classes I attempt to identify young men with strong character, work-ethics and an overwhelming passion to play golf beyond college while earning one of the best degrees in the country. I know this is the goal for all four of these young men and I look forward to assisting them in reaching their athletic and academic goals."
Lloyd was the 2010 Virginia class AAA state champion, helping Kellam High School to its first state title. In 2011 he placed sixth at the state championships. Lloyd was second at the 2011 Virginia State Golf Association stroke play championships and sixth at the AJGA Northern Virginia Junior tournament. Lloyd was fifth at the 2010 Eastern Amateur and won the 2009 AJGA Montverde Academy Junior All-State Invitational.
"Alex Lloyd and Jack Gibbs are very similar in that both are explosive players with a lot of talent," Sargent said. "Alex has been the top ranked junior in the 2012 class for Virginia most of his career. So it's nice to see the best players in the Commonwealth want to come play for Virginia. Alex has been making some swing changes in an effort to become a more complete, sound college golfer. Alex has demonstrated the ability to shoot 64's to 67's in a variety of tournaments with regularity so I know he has the confidence to be a great player."
Gibbs is rated the No. 2 junior player in the state of Georgia. He finished third at the 2011 Georgia State Junior and was 15th at the prestigious Jones Cup Junior event. He had top-25 finishes at the 2011 AJGA Frederica Junior Open (14th) and the Golf Pride Junior Classic (20th). He was a member of the 2010 Georgia team that played the South Carolina team in the GA-SC Challenge Match. He played at Lakeside High School where he helped the Panthers to the 2010 AAAA state title.
"Jack, similar to Alex, comes to our program with an enormous amount of talent. He has prodigious length, enabling him to overpower golf courses which is rare in today's world as the courses are getting much longer," Sargent said. "As Jack learns to develop and harness his power he'll become an even better, more complete player. Jack has been working closely with one of the best swing teachers in the country, Todd Anderson, and I think Jack will only improve as he learns to play to his strengths more effectively."
Kochevar is currently ranked No. 35 in the AJGA Polo Golf Rankings. He was an honorable mention Rolex All-American in 2011. He had three top-10 finishes at Illinois Junior Golf Association events in 2011 and won the IJGA's Junior Open. He placed third at the Ol' Colony Junior Classic on the Southeastern Junior Golf Tour. He played in the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur Championships and the 2011 Callaway Junior World Championships.
In July, Kochevar finished in a tie for second place at the American Junior Golf Association's Rolex Tournament of Champions in Sunriver, Ore., and was eighth the following week at the Golf Pride Junior Classic in Pinehurst, N.C. He was third at the 2011 Scott Robertson Memorial. He competed on the high school level at Glenbard West High School, but opted not to play there his senior season to concentrate on junior golf. His twin sister, Brooke, is a top junior and his father, Dan, is a professional at Oak BrookGolf Club.
McLaughlin is ranked No. 20 in the AJGA Polo rankings. He was named a second-team Rolex Junior All-America in 2011. McLaughlin won the 2011 AJGA CorseMax/Philadelphia Runner Junior, the same event he won in 2009. He also won the Massachusetts Junior Championships this past summer.
He was a member of Team New England for its matches against Team USA at the Mineck DBC Junior Cup. He helped New England to the win and received the John D. Mineck Sportsmanship Award, presented annually to the tournament participant that consistently demonstrates a high standard of sportsmanship, integrity and camaraderie along with a love of the game of golf.
"Both Nick McLaughlin and Kyle Kochevar are ranked near the top of the AJGA rankings," Sargent said. "Both Kyle and Nick played very well this summer. Having young men play well later in their junior careers is certainly a positive heading into college. Nick won his second career AJGA this summer and played extremely well in the Western Junior. Kyle finished second at the Rolex Junior, one of the AJGA's four ‘majors.' As our NCAA regional and national venues get increasingly difficult it's nice to know the young men entering our program have the capacity to handle challenging venues."
"Overall, I am pleased with this class. Given the impending turnover within our team, the '12 class, along with the 2013 class, will be in a unique position. They will be afforded the opportunity to play and compete from day one. We'll be a young team in 2012-13 and 2013-14 but along with our youth will come the opportunity to play and compete so it should make for an exciting chapter in Virginia golf."
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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