Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina head men’s golf coach Tim Eckberg has added four transfers to the Catamount roster for the upcoming 2022-23 season. Adam Hooker (Lebanon, Va. / High Point Univ.), Pablo Hernandez (Madrid, Spain / Missouri Valley College), Josh Lendach (Raleigh, N.C. / Univ. of Cincinnati), and Ryan Thomas (Launceston, Tasmania, Australia / Indian Hills CC) each join the Catamount roster.
The influx of four transfers joins WCU’s returning side of fifth-year senior Louis Theys (Villers-Perwin, Belgium), seniors Magnus Pedersen (Moss, Norway), and Quinton Metz (Wilkesboro, N.C.), and sophomore Kiefer Bulau (King City, Ontario, Canada).
Adam Hooker is a fifth-year graduate transfer who finished his playing career at High Point University where he was a four-year starter, posting 24 rounds at even-par or better. The Lebanon, Va., product is coming off a career-best 74.27 scoring average as a senior last year after averaging 74.26 in the 2020-21 season. Over the past four seasons at High Point, Hooker posted 24 rounds at par-or-better and recorded a pair of Top 10 finishes in the 2019-20 season. In the summer of 2022, Hooker qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship by placing in a two-way tie for second at the qualifying event held at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course in Raleigh.
This summer, Hooker qualified for the 122nd Annual U.S. Amateur Championship after placing in a two-way tie for second in his qualifying event at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course in Raleigh. The 2022 U.S. Amateur Championship is scheduled for August 15-21 in New Jersey.
A two-time Millis Scholar-Athlete, Hooker was named to the Big South All-Academic team and was a GCAA All-American Scholar. He also served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) at High Point.
Pablo Hernandez is a redshirt junior transfer from Madrid, Spain. He comes to Cullowhee from Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo., where he was a two-time Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) men’s golf all-conference selection. In 2020-21, Hernandez was both the Heart Men’s Golf Player and Newcomer of the Year. Last season he posted one individual victory, a pair of runner-up finishes including second at the Heart of America Conference championship, and a combined seven Top 10 showings over nine seasonal events. He was twice named Heart Men’s Golfer of the Week in 2021-22.
Hernandez, who finished the 2021-22 season ranked 48th in the final GolfStat NAIA player rankings, is a second Spanish-born men’s golfer at WCU joining Andres Cuenca (Fuengirola, Spain), who played for the Catamounts from 2006-2009.
Josh Lendach is transferring back to North Carolina after a year on the University of Cincinnati men’s golf roster, though he did not compete as a true freshman. The Raleigh native was a two-time all-conference and two-time All-State selection in the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA) at North Raleigh Christian Academy. He finished as the NCISAA state runner-up as a senior after scoring individual medalist honors in his conference championship event, leading his squad to an undefeated regular season and conference title. Lendach additionally claimed medalist honors in a Golfweek Amateur Tour event in the Champ A-B Day Two at the True Blue Golf Club in Pawleys Island, S.C., in Feb. 2022.
Ryan Thomas spent the past two seasons on the men’s golf team at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa, helping guide the team to national finishes of seventh in 2021 and 12th in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national championship. Originally from Launceston, Tasmania in Australia, Thomas posted a seasonal scoring average of 72.7 as a sophomore and was ranked 21st in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) GolfStat final rankings in May 2022. Individually, he finished tied for ninth at the NJCAA Central District Championship in April 2022 as the Warriors qualified for the national tournament where he placed in a tie for 26th individually. During his freshman season, Thomas earned Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC) Division I Men’s Golfer of the Week honors on Oct. 21, 2021.
The Aussie won the Tamar Valley Junior Cup in January 2019 and posted a runner-up finish at the Tasmanian Junior Masters at Riverside the week before. Thomas also represented Tasmania at the Australian boys’ amateur championship in Queensland in 2018 and 2019, serving as the captain in 2018.
Eckberg and Western Carolina men’s golf will unveil its 2022-23 seasonal schedule in the coming days ahead of competitions slated to begin in September.
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