Nov. 15, 2016
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan men's head coach Chris Whitten announced today (Tuesday, Nov. 15), the signings of Connor Prassas (Winnetka, Ill.), Charlie Pilon (Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia) and Henry Spring (Whakatane, New Zealand) to National Letters of Intent for the 2017-18 season.
Prassas joins the Wolverines after his prep career at the Loyola Academy. Ranked as the No. 2 player in Illinois and No. 93 nationally by Golfweek, Prassas was the 2016 Illinois State Junior Amateur champion (73-69-76/218). During his summer AJGA play he was fifth at the Coca Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands (71-72-72/215), sixth at the Junior at the Ranch (76-75-69/220) and 10th at the Daniel Berger Junior Championship (79-73-72/224). In addition, he won the Mid-American Junior Golf Tour event at Shepherd's Crook.
"Michigan is a great academic school," said Prassas. "The athletic programs are top notch. I had 'the feeling' as soon as I stepped foot on campus that this is where I need to be. Michigan is the quintessential college experience. I am looking forward to all of the state of the art facilities and working on taking my game to the next level."
While at Loyola Academy in 2015, he was an all-conference first team selection while earning medalist runner-up at the IHSA regional and advancing to both the sectional and state final. The team's MVP, he was among the top three in five tournaments with one win.
"Connor really impressed me this summer with his improvement from 2015, and I know he can grow with his game a lot more still," said Whitten. "He's done really nice work with Sam McKinney, and his parents, Chris and Michelle, give him incredible support. On the course, Connor's all business; I love his mature approach. He thinks through his game plan and accepts the outcome of his shot. He'll work hard in the classroom, and I already know the guys are going to love him as a teammate."
Pilon, who played at Hills International and was ranked as the No. 1 for most of 2016, is now the No. 3 in the Australian Boys Ranking and No. 28 on the Australian Men's Ranking. Overall, he is ranked No. 838 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. This past summer, Pilon highlighted his play with medalist honors at the 2016 Australian Amateur Stroke Play and advancing to the quarterfinal of match play.
"I believe Michigan will be the best mix of both worlds regarding golf and education," said Pilon. "I am looking most forward to being a part of a great team and atmosphere whilst learning about American culture."
A three-time champion of the Gary Player Classic, he competed in the prestigious 2016 Australian Master of the Amateurs. In 2015, he was medalist runner-up at the Queensland Boys Amateur as well as the Greg Norman Junior Masters. In addition, he was a member of the Australian Interstate Boys Team (top five per state) and Men's Team (top eight players per state).
"Charlie has played at an elite level for several years in Australia and around Asia," said Whitten. "He has been lucky to learn from Ken and Tom Berndt at the Hills Academy, which is Jason Day's former school, and he has represented Australia and Queensland on several occasions. I think taking medalist honors and making the quarterfinals at the 2016 Australian Amateur was huge for Charlie's confidence. He's competitive, has high expectations and loves the team aspect of golf too, which is why I'm so excited for him to join our group. His parents, Wayne and Lynne, have been amazing in their support of Charlie's golf dreams, and I know they are proud of him joining us at Michigan.
Spring, who played at Whakatane High School, is ranked No. 18 on New Zealand's Men's Order of Merit, including No. 3 on the 18-and-under list. Overall, he is listed No. 21 on the Australian Boys Rankings and No. 730 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
"Michigan had an overall great feeling about it," said Spring. "I felt as though it would be a great place to extend my study and focus on my golf. Michigan has a great golf team and coaches, who will be able to push me to become the best player I can be. The campus was stunning. The golf facility stood out. The town was very nice. I could immediately see myself spending four years there. I cannot wait to be a part of the Michigan golf team and building relationships with the players and coaches. I can't wait to make new friends and explore what the university has in stall for me."
In 2016, Spring was the medalist runner-up at the Riversdale Cup and finished fourth at the Australian Boys Amateur Championship. He added top-20 finishes at the Muriwai Open (13th), Toyota Junior Golf World Cup (15th), New Zealand Men's Stroke Play, Championship (17th) and Cobra/Puma New Zealand Men's Amateur Stroke Play (18th). He was also part of the New Zealand Junior team.
"When Henry visited Ann Arbor this past summer, I knew he would fit in with our team culture beautifully," said Whitten. "I was so impressed with Henry, his father John and mother Philippa. Henry is an experienced player who has competed against all of the best men's players in New Zealand, Australia and Asia with success. He brings a well-rounded game, professional approach and a lot of confidence to our team. I expect Henry to love college golf and everything about Ann Arbor, as well as push our team forward next fall."
Communications Contact: Tom Wywrot