Head coach Jim Anderson and the Arizona men’s golf staff wrapped up one of the nation’s finest recruiting classes on Wednesday, as five student-athletes signed National Letters of Intent to begin competing for the Wildcats in 2014-15.
George Cunningham, Henry Cunningham, Max Donohue, Peter Koo and Austin Stadeli comprise the highly regarded quintet that will join the UA roster next season.
“We knew this was going to be a really important class for our program, and I feel like we’ve taken significant steps toward assembling a team that can compete for conference and national championships,” Anderson said. “The class we were able to sign this year is just another confirmation that the University of Arizona is a premier institution for great young players to both develop their games and earn valuable degrees.”
Ranked the No. 2 overall recruit in his class in ratings by both Golfweek and the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), George Cunningham earned first-team Polo All-America honors in 2013 after a strong AJGA season. He won the AJGA TaylorMade Golf Junior at Innisbrook in March and posted runner-up finishes at the AJGA Junior Players at TPC Sawgrass, the AJGA FootJoy Invitational and the AJGA Under Armour/Hunter Mahan Championship. He also advanced to the round of 16 at the 2013 USGA Junior Amateur and the round of 32 at the USGA Public Links.
The Tucson native is a five-time USGA Junior Amateur participant, and has also represented the U.S. at golf events in China and France. In 2010, he won the AJGA Junior at Centennial, setting the course record with a round of 64.
“George has taken his game all over the world to compete, and he brings a wealth of experience into the next phase of his career,” Anderson said. “The adjustment to college golf won’t be a problem for him, and he’ll have the ambition to be one of the best college players in the nation from the moment he arrives on campus.”
Henry Cunningham, George’s older brother, will arrive at UA after spending a season as a member of the golf program at Pima Community College. He is a two-time participant at the Aaron Baddeley International Junior Championship in China.
The winner of the 2009 Future Champions Golf World Championship and the 2010 Desert Junior Golf Tour at Wigwam Red Course, Henry Cunningham also played in the Boys Junior Americas Cup and the Callaway Junior World Championship in 2011.
“Having spent a couple years in junior college, Henry will bring some experience and maturity that will help with a big incoming class,” Anderson said. “He has experienced high levels of competition and won’t shy away from the competitive nature of major college golf.”
A native of Sioux Falls, S.D., Donohue is a two-time South Dakota state junior champion and captured South Dakota Junior Golfer of the Year honors in 2012. He has four top-four finishes in AJGA play, including a win at the AJGA Junior at Quad Cities in 2011, and a two-time USGA Junior qualifier.
The four-time all-state selection led Sioux Falls O’Gorman to South Dakota AA team state championships in 2010, 2011 and 2013.
“Max is an incredibly hard worker and dedicated golfer,” Anderson said. “He’s going to benefit from a longer golf season, coming from the Midwest, where he had to shut it down for six months every year. He’s going to be a grinder from day one and he’ll be a great fit for the program we’re trying to build for the future.”
The youngest player to ever win the Arizona Amateur Stroke Play Championship when he captured the title at age 15 in 2011, Koo has 10-career AJGA top-10 finishes to his credit. He is currently ranked 24th overall and 13th in his class in the Junior Golf Scoreboard rankings.
Koo is a two-time qualifier at both the U.S. Public Links at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, and garnered PGA Southwest Section Player of the Year honors in 2010.
“Peter has played at high levels of competition, and his game travels very well,” Anderson said. “He’s a good ball striker and I’m confident that he’ll put in the work to ensure that his college finishes mirror the success he had in high school and junior golf.”
Stadeli won the 2013 Arizona Division II individual state title while at Notre Dame Prep, a year after taking runner-up honors as a junior. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native owns three-career top-10 finishes in AJGA competition, placed fourth at the 2013 Arizona Pub Links Championship and posted a top-30 showing at the 2013 Callaway Junior World Championship.
“I love having winners on our team, and coming off of an individual state title, Austin is a great fit,” Anderson said. “He’s a lefty who hits the ball really hard off the tee and has a lot of shots around the green. He’s creative and he’s going to flourish in our competitive environment because he plays with a chip on his shoulder.”The Wildcats will open their spring season in late January when they host the Arizona Intercollegiate at Sewailo Golf Club in Tucson. For more information on the Arizona men’s golf program, follow @UAWildcatsGolf on Twitter.