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Nov. 29, 2004

Columbia, SC– USC Head Golf Coach Puggy Blackmon announced the signing of four golfers today, including Bamberg-Enrhardt High School’s Allen Koon, Cheraw High School’s Baker Elmore, Savannah Country Day’s Mark Silvers and from Wiesloch, Germany, Florian Fritsch.

2004-05 South Carolina Men’s Golf Signees

Name Hometown High School
Allen Koon Bamberg, S.C. Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School
Florian Fritsch Wiesloch, Germany Johann-Philipp-Brunner
Baker Elmore Cheraw, S.C. Cheraw High School
Mark Silvers Savannah, Ga. Savannah Country Day

“This is the class that will be the catalyst to put USC into contention for SEC and NCAA Championships and it may prove to be my best recruiting class at USC,” said Blackmon, who is in his 10th year at the helm of USC’s men’s golf program. ” My recruiting strategy has been to recruit the best student athlete in South Carolina and the surrounding areas. Then combine that with the maturity, experience and talent of older international players. We certainly have accomplished that goal for 2005 with the signing of Allen, Baker, Mark and Florian.”

Bios on each golfer follow along with quotes from Coach Blackmon and a quote from each golfer on why they chose USC:

Allen<!> Koon

Allen Koon
Age: 17
Hometown: Bamberg, S.C.
High School: Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School
Bamberg, S.C.

  • No. 1 ranked Junior Amateur in S.C.
  • Three-Time S.C. “AA” High School All State
  • Five-Time S.C. “AA” High School All Region
  • Champion:
    2004 South Carolina Junior Amateur
    2003 South Carolina Junior Amateur (Age 14-15)
    2002 South Carolina Junior Amateur (Age 12-13)
    2004 SCJGA Caddie Classic
    2004 SCJGA Tradition Four Ball
  • Runner Up:
    2004 National Insurance Youth Classic
    2004 AJGA at Highland Oaks
    2004 Southern Cross
  • Member: National Honor Society, Beta Club

Personal: Career goal is to obtain a college education and become a pharmaceutical sales representative…Goals for the upcoming season are to be a team leader and winner of the Class A Golf State Championship…Favorite athlete is Payton Manning…. Hobbies include hunting, fishing, and playing golf.

Why Koon Chose South Carolina:
“I chose to attend the University of South Carolina because I think it is a great school that can offer me many opportunities. I have many family ties to the University, and I feel that it can provide me with the education I need to have a successful career. The University of South Carolina has an excellent golf team and competes in one of the most premier conferences. Being able to play on the USC golf team gives me the opportunity to compete at the highest collegiate golf level.”

Coach Blackmon Comments on Koon’s Signing
“Allen solidifies our instate recruiting by being not only the second straight SC Junior Amateur Champion (along with Gamecock Freshman Mark Anderson) to ink with USC but he will also finish the year as the top ranked junior in South Carolina. Allen is the first in history to win every age division in the South Carolina Junior ranks and has been a huge lifelong Gamecock fan, He’s a fiery competitor who will leave his mark on the USC record books.”

Florian<!> Fritsch

Florian Fritsch
Age: 19
Hometown: Wiesloch, Germany
High School: Johann-Philipp-Brunner
Heidelberg, Germany

  • 2004 – #1 Ranked Amateur (Men’s) in Germany
    #1 Ranked Amateur (Youth) in Germany
  • Three-Time Member German International Team
  • Champion:
    2004 European Youth (Ireland)
    2004 Optimist International Junior
    10th – 2004 World Amateur (Puerto Rico)
  • AJGA Junior All American

Personal: Goal for the upcoming season is to finally get a set of clubs that fit…Spends his free time playing tennis, soccer, and ping-pong and enjoys listening to music…Favorite athlete is Roger Federer.

Why Fritsch Chose South Carolina:
“I chose to attend the University of South Carolina because I was very impressed with the resources and support services of USC. I was very impressed with the detail of the program; especially the club fitting that is not readily available in Germany. I was also very impressed with the people and I am confident they will help me in my mission to become a world class player.”

Coach Blackmon Comments on Fritsch’s Signing
“We have been following Florian’s emergence as a world class player for almost three years. Considered as one of the elite international prospects, his biggest decision was U.S. collegiate golf or the European PGA Tour. He is certainly an impact player and will play a major role in USC contending for SEC and NCAA Championships. At this point in his career he certainly ranks up their with Duval, Cink, Thompson and other outstanding professionals I have coached.”

Baker<!> Elmore

Baker Elmore
Age: 17
Hometown: Cheraw, S.C.
High School: Cheraw High School
Cheraw, S.C.

  • Six-Time S.C. “AA” High School All State
  • Four-Time S.C. “AA” High School All Region
  • Champion:
    2004 Southern Cross
  • Runner Up:
    2004 SCJGA The Players Championship
    2004 SCJGA Fall Challenge
    2004 National PGA Qualifier
    4th – 2004 S.C. “AA” State H.S. Championship
    8th – 2003 Junior Azalea
    9th – 2003 Florence Invitational
    11th – 2003 AJGA Chateau Elan
  • Member:
    National Honor Society
    Palmetto Fellows Scholar

Personal: Career goal is to win a national championship and become a prominent lawyer…Hobbies include fishing and hanging out with friends…Favorite athlete is Michael Jordan…. Biggest influence is Jay Haas.

Why Elmore Chose South Carolina:
“I chose USC for a few different reasons. First, and foremost, it is a great academic university, which offers an excellent political science program. Second, I really like Coach Blackmon. Coach Blackmon is a great guy and two of my fellow recruits he is bringing in are good friends of mine. My goal was always to attend an academically challenging university with a nationally competitive golf program; USC provides both of these opportunities.”

Coach Blackmon Comments on Elmore’s Signing
“Baker gives true meaning to the term student-athlete. He has been regarded for several years as one of the state’s finest players and has also excelled in the classroom. His talent, lofty goals, determination and work ethic attracted my attention early. We’ve only seen a glimpse of this outstanding young man’s potential.”

Mark<!> Silvers

Mark Silvers
Age: 18
Hometown: Savannah, Georgia
High School: Savannah Country Day
Savannah, Georgia

  • All Coastal Empire: 2001, 2002, 2003
  • Champion:
    2004 Georgia H.S. Regionals
    2004 Savannah High School Championship*
    *Defeated No. 1 ranked Junior in U.S.
    2001 Junior Azalea
    2001 Florence Invitational
  • Qualified for Match Play 2003 U.S. Junior Amateur
  • Fourth – 2004 Southern Junior Amateur
    – 2004 Future Masters
  • Third – 2004 Georgia State Junior Championship
  • Member: National Honor Society

Personal: Goals for the upcoming season are t

  • improve scoring clubs and putter t
  • shoot lower scores … Hobbies include listening t
  • music, playing racquetball and ping-pong … Favorite athlete is Phil Mickelson.

Why Silvers Chose South Carolina:
“I was very impressed with the knowledge and attitude of Coach Blackmon, as well as the attention to improving the golf game. There are great facilities for practice and perfect conditions to improve my game. The team members are very friendly and the whole atmosphere was very hospitable. USC also has a very solid academic side and provides a perfect blend of academics and athletics. A Family friend and former Gamecock, John Suthers, was also a big influence.”

Coach Blackmon Comments on Silver’s Signing
“Adding Mark to this recruiting class will certainly make this one of the top five recruiting classes in the nation. He has held his own when competing against fellow Savannahian and U.S. # 1 ranked junior Brian Harman. He has played very well in several national events as well. Like Baker Elmore, he is both an outstanding player and an exceptional student. He has a tremendous upside and the right genes as his father was an outstanding player at LSU.”