Huntingdon's Mahanic to coach in Japan this summer

Posted by Tom Ensey -  email

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Huntingdon College Director of Golf Matt Mahanic has been selected as the head coach for the United States in the 2010 Toyota Junior Golf World Cup, which will be played at the Chukyo Golf Club in Toyota City, Japan, from June 15-18 of this year.

The 19th annual Junior World Cup is the world's only junior golf championship in which 14 national teams, winners of regional qualifiers held across six continents and participated by more than 60 national teams, compete for the world champion trophy. Only the United States and Japan are exempt from qualifying and are guaranteed a spot in the 14-team field each year.

"This is truly an honor for me to be given the chance to represent the United States in the tournament," Mahanic said. "It is also a great opportunity to share Huntingdon College with people on an international level, and I am excited about that. From what I have heard from various committees, this is one of the strongest teams on paper the United States has fielded and I look forward to the chance to work with these talented young men."

The tournament is meant to encourage the players' patriotic spirit during the competition, while providing them with the opportunity to develop international friendship among the players themselves. Addition to international competition and friendship, the tournament tries to support development of the future junior golf standards around the globe by hosting a meeting where captains and coaches share the latest information on their national junior golf programs with other participating countries.

Representing the United States and playing under Mahanic's tutelage are high school seniors Bobby Wyatt (Mobile, Ala./UMS-Wright), Cameron Wilson (Rowayton, Conn./St. Lukes School), Oliver Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga./Harrison HS) and Yaroslav Merkulov (Rochester, N.Y./Penfield HS). Each player was selected by the U.S. National committee and have all verbally committed or signed letters'-of-intent with nationally-respected NCAA Division I College golf programs.

Wyatt, who has signed with the University of Alabama, is rated No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarin junior index for the class of 2010 and No. 1 in the Polo Golf Rankings for his class. Wyatt won the Junior Players Championship at Sawgrass this year and won medalist honors in nine of the 11 events he played during the 2009 high school season. He has won the Alabama state individual championship three times (2006, 2008, 2009) with the first coming when he was a 13-year-old eighth-grader, and he helped his team at UMS-Wright win the state title in 2008 and 2009.

Wilson, who signed a letter-of-intent with Stanford, was named an American Junior Golf Association All-American and was picked as a member of the U.S. Challenge Cup and AJGA Canon Cup Teams. Wilson advanced to the Round of 8 in the 2009 USGA Junior Amateur at Trump National Golf Club, and posted first place finishes in the 2009 MGA Met Amateur, the 2009 AJGA Nationwide Open at the Ohio State Scarlet Course and the 2009 Carter Cup at Baltusrol Golf Club. He was also advanced to the Round of 32 in the USGA Men's Amateur.

Schniederjans is No. 5 in the Golfweek Junior Rankings for the class of 2011. He had two other top-5 finishes in AJGA invitationals in 2009 besides his win at the Polo Junior. He was named the Georgia State Golf Association Junior Player of the Year after winning the Georgia Junior, Georgia PGA Junior and Georgia Public Links over the summer. Schniederjans has verbally committed to play golf at Georgia Tech.

Merkulov, who has signed with Duke University, was a 2009 Rolex Jr. first team All-America choice and is tabbed third in the Polo Golf Rankings and sixth in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Ratings (third in his class). Merkulov was the runner-up at the 2009 Junior PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass, one of his five top 20 finishes this year at AJGA sanctioned events. In his last three tournaments, Merkulov had two top five finishes. He was also a member of the 2009 Canon Cup, compiling a 3-0-1 record at the event. Perhaps most impressive was Merkulov's win at the 87th New York State Amateur, tying for the youngest champion in tournament history at 17-years-old. The senior has been tabbed All-Greater Rochester three times and an All-State selection four times. He was the Section V champion and twice a runner-up in the state championship. Merkulov has also won the New York State Junior Amateur twice along with the New York State Boy's Amateur in 2006.

The four-day tournament is played annually on the 6,993 yard, par 72 Ishino Course of the Chukyo Golf Club, with the top three scores counting from each team on a daily basis. Last year, the United State finished in second place, three stokes behind Argentina, which carded a four-day total of 22-under par 830. The United States has won the Junior World Cup seven times, most recently in 2005.

From Huntingdon College sports information