FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University golf coach Mark Gaynor has announced the addition of five players to his program for the 2009-2010 season: junior Andrew Weir of Montrose, Scotland, sophomore Ciaren McKenna of Mallow, Ireland, and freshmen Michael Asay of Lexington, Ky., Sebastian Backlund of Bollebygd, Sweden, and Kenneth Svanum of Skoppum, Norway.
Weir, 6-0 and 205 pounds, is a transfer from Indian Hills Community College, where he played two seasons.
This past year, he carded a 76.4 stroke average as Indian Hills finished fourth at the NJCAA national tournament. The Warriors won five events and placed in the Top-5 in 10 of 11 tournaments. In his freshman year, Indian Hills placed third at the 2008 NJCAA national championships.
McKenna, 5-10 and 170 pounds, is transferring from the Cork Institute of Technology.
Asay, 5-11 and 165 pounds, is a product of Lafayette High School and attended Bluegrass Community and Technical College last year, but did not play golf.
Backlund, 6-3 and 187 pounds, played on the 2007 Katrinelunds gymnasiet high school squad that won the Swedish National School championship. Three of four years between 2003 and 2006, he ranked among the top-4 for his age group in Sweden. Last year, he won five events and finished second in three others.
Svanum, 5-7 and 160 pounds, played at Horten High School in Norway. He ranked as the fourth-best amateur in the Ecco Tour qualification and fifth-best in the Norway National Junior rankings. He recorded two Top-10 finishes in P4-Tour play.
“I am very excited about each one of the incoming players,” said Gaynor. “They each have qualities that will allow them to fit into Francis Marion and the Florence community. This is a very diverse group that should be able to step in and contribute immediately. They have all had success at some level.”
“Last year we finished just out of the Top-100 rankings for NCAA Division I, and that was a testament to last year’s strong group of seniors. I expect returnees Christopher Couch and Matt Jackson to lead these newcomers and help them adjust, both on campus and on the golf course.”
Francis Marion lost four seniors from last season’s squad that posted a 109-51-2 record, including five Top-5 finishes in 11 events. The 2009-2010 campaign will be the program’s s third year as a full-fledged NCAA Division I member.