Akers Inks Pair of Signers including January Add

by | Nov 11, 2021 | LPGA

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DENTON – UNT women’s golf coach Michael Akers announced two additions to its program on Wednesday.

The Mean Green will add Australian golfer Sakura Sugiyama in January and Granbury product Mason Lewis in August 2022 after trying to defend her Class 5A state championship. Lewis is also Madison Lewis’ sister.

“I’m really excited to sign Sakura and Mason today,” said UNT head coach Michael Akers. “The most important trait I’m looking for now is work ethic. In order for our program to be nationally competitive and to continue to beat the very tough competition we play, we need players who use overtime. Most of our players try to to play.” on the LPGA tour, so they put hours and hours into it. Lauren (Cox), Audrey (Tan) and Patty (Sinolungan) were the role models for this attribute. Our two newcomers this year, Chandler (Browning) and Ellie (Roth), both show me that they want to work too. Ultimately, the work pays off and good things come about. ”

Sugiyama will join the Mean Greens in the spring season and has an extensive athletic background having competed in both swimming and track / cross country nationally in Australia before turning collegially into golf. In the pool, she was the Queensland state champion in the 100-meter butterfly and underscored her running career by winning consecutive cross-country state championships.

On the pitch, Sugiyama won the 2021 South Australian Amateur Stroke Play Championship and finished third in the match play event. She was also a top 20 selection in the Australian Women’s Order of Merit 2021 and was ranked # 4 in the Australian Girls Order of Merit 2020.

Lewis will join UNT in August for the 2022-23 season after trying to defend her UIL Class 5A individual state championship in the spring. Last year she was named 5A-6A Girls Golf Athlete of the Year by the Texas Girls Coaches Association and was named to the first team of the all-state team after receiving numerous awards early in her career, including freshman of the Year 2019, Lewis also qualified for the Junior World Championship, where she finished in the top 50 in San Diego that summer. She won two high school events this fall.

Coach Akers on Sakura Sugiyama …

“Sakura is the first Australian I signed. She has worked with an amazing teacher named Nancy Harvey since she was a child. Nancy played on the LPGA Tour for many years so we both have a common goal of helping Sakura, to get on the tour. I know Sakura is 100% committed to investing the time. I love the fact that Sakura has an athletic background and has been successful in other sports like swimming and track and field. She is breaking out on that now Golf course and I expect she really does shine in our program. “

Coach Akers on Mason Lewis …

“Mason was only meant to play for UNT. I’ve watched her and her progress for a while. Last year she really took her game to the next level. I was so excited that she won the 5A Texas State Championship last spring and the winner is.” It’s a very big deal to win a state in Texas. The NCAA dead time was still in place so I couldn’t watch. Mason also invests the time and is very athletic. It suits me and this program perfectly. Mason comes from an amazing family and I am delighted to be able to coach her for four years. “