Kevin Kwon will have lots of B.C. footsteps to follow when he heads south to play collegiate golf at the University of Washington.
British Columbia has long been fertile ground for the Husky golf program and this week Kwon, the former Canadian Junior champion from Pitt Meadows, became the latest B.C. resident to commit to Washington.
Kwon, who is in Grade 12 at Maple Ridge Secondary, signed his letter of intent earlier this week. He’ll join the Huskies next fall.
“It feels awesome,” Kwon said Thursday. “I’ve known it was coming because I have been committed to them for a while now, but signing the actual document and having the coaches call me was very exciting.”
Kwon said he was influenced by the success fellow British Columbians such as James Lepp and Nick Taylor have had at Washington. Lepp won the NCAA individual title at Washington, while Taylor for a time was ranked as the world’s top amateur and won the prestigious Ben Hogan Award.
Lots of others, like Langley’s Darren Wallace, West Vancouver’s Kevin Spooner, Charlie Hughes of Maple Ridge and Vancouver Island natives Gordy Scutt and Scott Kral, have also played at Washington.
“I know Charlie very well, we practise together,” Kwon said of Hughes, who is in his senior year at Washington. “He was a huge influence for me going to Washington. The other guys, like James Lepp and Nick Taylor, were outstanding and for me to try to continue that tradition is awesome.”
Kwon, a longtime junior member at Swan-e-set Bay in Pitt Meadows, has had an outstanding junior career and is a member of Golf Canada’s national development team.
He won the 2011 Canadian Junior by 11 shots when it was held at Morgan Creek in Surrey.
Meanwhile, Coquitlam’s Jisoo Keel is heading a little farther south than Kwon. Keel, a Grade 12 student at Gle-neagle Secondary, signed her letter of intent this week with Stanford University in California. Like Kwon, Keel said it felt good to officially sign the letter on Wednesday.
“I committed to them quite a while ago, but just to finalize things is just a reality check that it is finally done and I’m really going to Stanford next year,” she said Thursday.
Keel visited Stanford last month and was mightily impressed with the campus.”It was great, it really gave me a preview of what campus life is going to be like and what it’s like to be a student there. Stanford is obviously going to be a very academically challenging school, but there are going to be a lot of special people there and hopefully I can just learn from them and enjoy it.”
Keel, a member of Golf Canada’s national amateur team, plays out of Vancouver Golf Club and earned a spot in this past summer’s CN Canadian Women’s Open at the Coquitlam layout. She also qualified to play in this summer’s U.S. Women’s Open.
• Click here for more stories from the Vancouver Sun