Wildcats Sign Four Men's Golfers for 2015-16

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State men's golf coach Grant Robbins announced his first signing class at K-State with four golfers signing National Letters of Intent as Andrew Beckler, Ben Fernandez, Jeremy Gandon and Roland Massimino will join the Wildcats for the 2015-16 season. The four-man signing class is the most by the Wildcats since 2009.

"We are very excited about this class," Robbins said. "It is important for us in recruiting that we not only find good players but also players that fit and players of high character that reflect the values we want to see in our golf program. Each of these young men are exceptional talents that have demonstrated a high level of success both on the course and in the classroom. They will fit in very well with the strong core of players we currently have."

Beckler comes to K-State after an outstanding career at Washburn Rural in Topeka, Kansas, where he won the 2014 Kansas Junior Sectional Championship with scores of 66 and 68, while he qualified for the 2013 and 2014 Big I National Championship. Currently ranked 121st nationally in the class of 2015 by Junior Golf Scoreboard, Beckler finished second in the 2014 Kansas Junior Amateur before advancing to the Round of 16 at the 2014 Kansas Amateur. In 2013, Beckler took fourth in the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Payne Stewart Junior, tied for seventh in the 2014 High Plains Amateur and finished second in the 2014 AJGA Under Armour Championship.

"Andrew is not only a very talented golfer but a great person as well," Robbins said of Beckler. "He has tremendous passion for the game, a great attitude and I just love the way he competes. He has a great knack for playing the game and has shown the ability to shoot some very low scores. He has all the qualities that you want to see in a player both on and off the course, and he will definitely make a big impact here."

Fernandez, a senior at Carroll High School in Southlake, Texas, is ranked seventh in the state of Texas for Class 6A and 141st nationally in the class of 2015 by Golfweek. He finished third in the 2014 Texas High School Invitational and seventh in the 2014 AJGA Buffalo Dunes Championship, while he also registered top-25 finishes in the 2014 AJGA Hunter Mahan and the 2014 AJGA KPMG Junior Open.

"Ben is very talented and a great all-around athlete that has the potential to be an outstanding player on the college level," said Robbins. "He has only been playing competitive golf for three years now and has already established himself as one of the best players in Texas. He grew up playing football and lacrosse and brings a level of competitiveness that will make him very successful here."

Believed to be the first international player in the history of the program, Gandon comes to K-State from Charpey, France. Gandon is currently ranked 476th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, while he is regarded as the 23rd best amateur in France, including No. 4 under the age of 18. Regarded as the 30th-best amateur under of the age of 18 in the European Golf Rankings, Gandon placed 11th at the French Amateur in 2013, while he finished third in the 2014 French U18 Amateur Championship and the 2014 Biarritz Cup. Gandon also qualified for the 2014 Cotes d'Armour Open on the European Challenge Tour where he fired a first-round score of 68.

"Jeremy is a tremendous talent and someone that I expect to come in and make an immediate impact," Robbins said of Gandon. "I had the opportunity to watch him compete the last two summers at the British Boys and was very impressed with all phases of his game. He has played very well against high-level competition as evidenced by the 68 he shot in a European Challenge Tour event earlier this fall. Jeremy is also a great student and graduated this summer with very high marks."

A product of Lumberville, Pennsylvania, Massimino is a senior at New Hope Solebury High School. Ranked 178th nationally in the class of 2015 by Golfweek, Massimino finished third in the 2013 Pennsylvania State High School Championship and registered six top-25 finishes in AJGA events between the 2013 and 2014 seasons, including an eighth-place finish in the 2014 AJGA Course Max Junior. He moved up a spot to finish second in the 2014 Pennsylvania State High School Championship. Massimino is the grandson of basketball coach Rollie Massimino, who coached Villanova to the 1985 National Championship and is currently the head coach at Northwood University in West Palm Beach, Florida.

"I have known Roland for a couple of years now and have been really impressed with his ongoing improvement," said Robbins. "He is very athletic and has a lot of tools that you just can't teach. He generates a tremendous amount of clubhead speed and makes a ton of birdies. Like Ben, Roland played several sports growing up and hasn't begun to scratch the surface on how good he can be. I am really looking forward to working with him."

K-State will be back in action this spring as the Wildcats will travel to Palm Desert, California, to compete in the 2014 Desert Intercollegiate, Feb. 22-24, at the Classic Club.