Photo by Andrew Brown / MTSU Sidelines
The Middle Tennessee men’s golf squad found some local talent to add to the team during the November signing period, inking three new players from Tennessee to the team.
Michael Barnard from Beech High School and Bryce Lewis from Hendersonville High School will make the one-hour trip south down Highway 109 to join MTSU in the fall of 2018.
Barnard gave his verbal commitment last July and made his first TSSAA state tournament last fall after a narrow miss in his first two tries. Just last month, Barnard finished second in his final state tournament by firing a 12-under par at the Willowbrook Golf Club in Manchester.
Barnard was ranked as the 39th-best junior golfer in the nation by the Junior Golf Scoreboard. At the 2017 Junior PGA Championships, Barnard finished in fifth place after carding another 12-under par.
— Michael Barnard (@m_barn2) July 30, 2016
Lewis, a rival of Barnard’s, is the highest nationally ranked prospect by the Junior Golf Scoreboard signed by MTSU, coming in at 25th.
Lewis had quite the senior campaign, winning the Tennessee Junior PGA Championship and Under Armour/Scott Schallings Championship, and qualifying for the USGA Amateur Championship at the Riviera Country Club where he was the youngest competitor. At the TSSAA State Tournament, Lewis finished just behind Barnard in sixth place by shooting even par.
Coming to the Raiders from Halls High School in Knoxville is Jake Hall. Hall rounds out the group as 48th-best player nationally per Junior Golf Scoreboard to make all three players in the class part of the top 50 players in the nation.
Hall was instrumental in Halls High School’s back-to-back State Championship runs as a junior and senior. The Knoxville native finished in third individually with a six-under par behind Barnard and his Halls High teammate Ryan Hall at the TSSAA State Tournament.
Hall also enjoyed plenty of success individually, as he tied for fifth at the AJGA City of London Junior Championship and finished third at the TGA Boy’s Junior Amateur. Hall joined his future teammates, Barnard and Lewis, at the 2017 Under Armour/Scott Schallings Championship, finishing in 11th.
“I am very excited to announce the signing of three of the best junior golfers in the country,” said head coach Brennan Webb. “Having three players ranked inside the Top 50 in the country should make this recruiting class one of the best in the country to sign today. The caliber of junior golfers in our state is as good as any in the country. Our number one priority in recruiting is to get the very best players in the state, and I am very excited that these young men saw the vision we have for the program and chose to stay in-state and compete here at Middle Tennessee.”