JONESBORO, Ark. (11/22/19) – Arkansas State head men’s golf coach Mike Hagen has announced that six-time France team selection Tom Vaillant and two-time state champion Devyn Pappas have signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to play for the Red Wolves starting in 2020-21.
Vaillant has represented France six times in national competitions. He earned back-to-back championships earlier this year at the French Boys U19 Championship and the Valescure Grand Prix. He’s added nine top 10 finishes over 16 other events in the last calendar year. He was on this year’s French Team that won the European Boys team championship and the Jean-Louis Dupont Trophy.
“Being able to sign a player like Tom is a big pickup for our program,” said Hagen. “He comes here with a lot of big-time tournament experience from traveling all around the world playing. He’s played in some of the biggest junior and amateur events. He will be with the national team training and participating in the South Beach Championship in December, so he does have experience here in the United States as well. Obviously, representing France and winning the European Boy’s Championship is a huge notch on his resume. That is arguably the best and biggest junior event in Europe.”
Pappas earned his second-straight individual medalist honor with a 1-under 70 at the 2019 Arkansas Class 4A boys state golf championship at Red Apple Inn and Country Club in Heber Springs. Pappas helped lead Valley View to its second-straight team championship with a team total of 224, 14 shots better than the runner-up. A four-time all-state selection, Pappas helped the Blazers to three state titles in four seasons while earning conference championships in three seasons. This past summer, Pappas had 11 consecutive tournament rounds of 72 or better to go along with four runner-up finishes.
“It’s always nice to add a player that has won multiple state championships,” said Hagen. “The biggest thing I think Devyn will bring to our team, is a winning culture and add to what we have been able to build over the last four and a half years. Devyn has been a part of three state championships and won a couple of individual state titles, so he has been on a winning team and part of a winning program the last four years. He’s going to know what winning is like and will contribute in a positive manner to the culture we’ve created here at Arkansas State.”
Ranked 39th in the Golfweek Poll, A-State returns to action this spring at the Border Olympics on Feb. 23-25 in Laredo, Texas. The Red Wolves won the Bubba Barnett Intercollegiate and finished fifth or better in each of the other four tournaments in the fall to compile a 56-10-2 record on the season.