HARRISONBURG, Va. - The James Madison University men's golf team has signed Ryan Cole (Mount Airy, Md./Linganore) and Poom Pattaropong (Bangkok, Thailand/Heritage Academy (S.C.)) to National Letters of Intent, Head Coach Jeff Forbes announced today. The pair will be incoming freshmen for the 2013-14 academic year.
"This year's recruiting class is the best I have had since being at JMU," Forbes said. "Ryan and Poom are strong players that have won at the highest junior level. I think these guys will step right into the spots left open by the two departing seniors."
As both a sophomore and junior at Linganore, Cole won the Frederick County High School Championship and posted the lowest stroke average in the county, earning him Frederick News Post Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive year. A three-time team MVP and two-year captain so far, Cole also took home the Maryland District 1 Tournament title his freshman year.
Outside of high school, he has had eight career AJGA top-10s, including four last summer, earning him a ranking of 60th nationally according to the Polo Golf Junior Rankings. In 2012, he was the medalist at the AJGA Peninsula Junior Classic and was runner-up in both the AJGA Erie Junior Golf Classic and the AJGA William Penn Junior Championship. He also finished sixth at the Southern Junior Championship and Woodward Video Junior, including a summer-low 66 in the second round. A quarterfinalist at the 2012 Metropolitan Amateur, he also has had four career top-five finishes at the Maryland State Junior Amateur and qualified for match play at the 2012 Maryland Amateur. A two-time member of the AJGA HP Scholastic All-American Honor Roll with a 4.0 GPA in high school, Cole plans to major in finance at JMU.
Pattaropong had a solid 2011-12 season on the International Junior Golf Tour, finishing in the top six in seven IJGT tournaments and in the top 20 of all 11, earning 2012 First Team IJGT honors. He had three runner-up finishes, including in the Major Championship at Port Royal Golf Club in November 2011. He has already posted three top-eight finishes in the 2012-13 slate, including a runner-up finish at Hilton Head National in September. The Thailand native also had three top-20 finishes in AJGA events, led by a tie for 11th at the AJGA Exide Technologies Junior Open and a tie for 12th in the Southern Junior.
In 2010-11, he finished in the top five in five IJGT tournaments and the top 21 in all seven tournaments, ranking him 11th on the tour that season. He had a pair of runner-up finishes that year, with the best at the Major Championship at Kiawah Island. He also finished third in AJGA Junior All-Star Eagle Ridge and ninth at AJGA Junior.
He spent his freshman and sophomore seasons in Australia where he won at the North Coast Open Junior Tournament at Coffs Harbour both years. During his sophomore season, he also won both the 2010 Southport Junior Classic and the 2010 Ian Baker O'Finch Junior Classic. He was a two-time winner at the Queensland Intercollegiate 2010 Series where he represented Hills International School while also finishing second at True Vision-Singha International Junior Golf Tournament. During his freshman season, he won at the 2009 Surfer Paradise Junior Open and the 2009 Greg Norman Junior Open. Pattaropong plans to major in sports management at James Madison.
The Dukes will be back on the course Mon.-Tue., March 4-5 at the Davidson College Invitational. The two-day tournament will be played at River Run Country Club in Davidson, N.C.