Stetson University’s new men’s golf coach, Larry Watson, has wasted no time in adding to the Hatters’ roster for the 2013-14 season, signing four players during the spring signing period.
That group of four new players will join with a returning roster that will include three seniors, two juniors and five sophomores.
“I think the addition of the four incoming freshmen addressed the need for us to improve as a team and become more competitive,” Watson said. “Having said that, I know freshmen need time to adjust to the difference in Division I college golf and high school golf. ”
The four newest Hatters are Eliott Azoulay from Orlando, Matthew Charlton from Cardiff, Wales, Dirk Kuehler from New Smyrna Beach and Zach Stark from Livingston, NJ.
Azoulay, who was born in Paris, France, and is a product of Montverde Academy as well as the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy. He opened eyes this spring when he led wire-to-wire in winning his first Future Collegians World Tour (FCWT) event at the El Campeon Course at Mission Inn. He had six other FCWT top five finishes in the past year.
“Because of the time he has spent at the Gilchrist Academy, I expect that Eliott is the most prepared to make the transition to college golf,” Watson said. “He will come in with a lot of golf knowledge and that should be a plus for the entire team.”
Charlton comes to Stetson from the Radyr Comprehensive School in Cardiff. He has competed at the highest levels in both junior golf and tennis, playing golf for Glamorgan, helping that club to the Intercounties Welsh Championship by posting an undefeated record in match play competition.
“Matthew will give additional international flare to the team, and he will bring a different style of play,” Watson said. “That may influence the returning players.”
Charlton served as captain of his local junior team for two years and earned both the match play and stroke play championships in 2011. Over his last three years of junior play he has improved his scoring average each year, down to a 72.9 this year.
Charlton, who plans to be a business major, said it was the opportunity for a high quality education that most attracted him to Stetson.
“The excellent academic program and the strong athletics program were both attractive,” Charlton said. “Stetson is a traditional University with a lot of history. It is the perfect place for me to reach my potential as a student-athlete. I am very
excited to get started and represent the Hatters, both on and off the course.”
Kuehler comes to Stetson from Spruce Creek High School in Port Orange where, in addition to being an honor roll student, he was a member of both the golf and volleyball teams. Over the past three years he has helped Spruce Creek to three top five state finishes, including one state title. He finished third, individually, in 2010 in helping the Hawks to their own state crown.
Kuehler is a three-time All-County performer, has twice been named to the All Central Florida team and is a two-time Junior Florida Cup selection by the Florida State Golf Association and has extensive experience playing on the Hatters’ home course at Victoria Hills Golf Club. He has a 73.8 stroke average over his high school career.
Stark comes to Stetson from Livingston High School in New Jersey where he captured the 2013 Essex County Individual Championship. Among his accomplishments on the course, Stark posted the lowest round at the AJGA Junior at Penn State with a four-under par 68.
In addition to his accomplishments at Livingston High, Stark became the youngest ever club champion at Cedar Hill Country Club when he captured the title at 17.
“Coach Watson is a huge reason why I am attending Stetson,” Stark said. “I like the way he is trying to improve the program to take it to the next level. My goal is for us to win a conference championship by my sophomore year and get into the NCAA Tournament.”
With a large returning roster, Watson said he doesn’t want to put too much pressure on the new players to step in right away.
“I expect all of those returning players, especially the four who played as freshmen this year, to make improvements,” Watson said. I don’t want to say that the new players have to come in and help right away, because they have to demonstrate that they have the skills and composure to compete at this level. I have every confidence they can, but it will come down to simple math.”