Patriot Golf Team Earns GCAA Academic Award

July 29, 2021
Mark Gaynor Mark Gaynor

For the eighth consecutive year, the Francis Marion University golf team has received a Golf Coaches Association of America All-Academic Team Award, this time for the 2020-21 academic year.

To be eligible for GCAA team recognition, a school must register a team grade point average of 3.00 or higher for the entire academic year.

Francis Marion was one of 121 NCAA Division I members nationwide to earn this honor, and the Patriots were one of five Palmetto State institutions.

The 10-member FMU squad posted a 3.156 GPA for the 2020-21 academic year. Head coach Mark Gaynor’s team consisted of seniors John Burghardt (Oakville, Ontario, Canada), Jacob Morris (Hollywood, SC), and Michael Rials (Florence, SC); juniors Pierre De Caevel (Glabais, Belgium), Grainger Howle (Darlington, SC), Grant Sellers (McBee, SC), and McClure Thompson (Little River, SC); sophomores Casper Kennedy (Tjome, Norway) and Mitchell Vance (Hartsville, SC); and freshman Markus Skjelstad (Fredrikstad, Norway).

On the course, the Patriots registered their best winning percentage in nine seasons by posting three Top-5 team finishes. FMU placed among the Top 10 in seven of eight tournaments during an abbreviated (due to covid-19) 2020-21 schedule. Kennedy led FMU with a 72.70 stroke average, while the team’s 290.70 stroke average was its lowest in more than 30 seasons.