Sam Saunders Looks to Carry on Family Tradition
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/12/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Nov. 12, 2009

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - University of New Mexico head men's golf coach Glen Millican has announced the signing of Sam Saunders to a National Letter of Intent. Saunders, a senior at Albuquerque's La Cueva high school, will join the Lobos in the fall of 2010.

"We're excited to have Sam join our team next fall," coach Glen Millican said. "We're getting one of the best golfers to come out of New Mexico in the past few years."

Saunders won the New Mexico Class 5A Golf Individual State Championship and led his team to a second-place finish as a junior last season. He also has won two Future Collegiate World Tour championships and took second place at an American Junior Golf Association event.

If the Saunders name sounds familiar to Lobo golf fans, well, it should.

Saunders is the fourth member of his family to sign with the Lobos. Most recently, his brother Steve ended his New Mexico career having captured PING All-America and Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar honors for New Mexico last season. He was the named the Mountain West Conference's Golfer of the Year for the 2008-09 season and set three conference-tournament scoring records - including largest margin of victory - in claiming the MWC Championship tournament's individual title.

His uncles, Jack Saunders (1985-89) and Jeff Fulwiler (1976-77), also had successful careers with the Lobos.

"With Sam, we're also excited to continue the family tradition," Millican said. "Sam's had a really good career as a junior golfer, been a very good player on the national level and does a great job in the classroom. We're excited to get started with him next fall."

As for Sam, the most recent of the Saunders to join the Lobo family grew up hoping this day would come. Saunders said he never really considered any other school when it came to his collegiate golf career.

"I'm really excited." Saunders said. "Since I was a freshman, I hoped that New Mexico was where I would be able to go. I've known for over a year that I'd be signing with the Lobos.

"Coach Millican has always been great to me," Saunders said. "He's a big reason why I'm headed to UNM."

Of course, his family's ties to New Mexico golf played a role in his decision as well.

"Both my uncles and my brother played for New Mexico, which is pretty cool," Saunders said. "Hopefully I'll play as well, if not better, than they did. Especially my brother - I hope to improve at the same pace he did and get to the same point he did, if not further."

"We're looking forward to having Sam and watching him progress," said Millican. "I think he'll have a stellar college career."