Nelson inks strong recruiting class

BREVARD, N.C. – Brevard head men’s golf coach David Nelson has announced a two-member recruiting class that will join the team for the Fall 2015 semester.

Nelson already has a strong lineup, with nearly every player returning from last year’s squad that had several strong showings throughout the spring season. The addition of Steffen Heckele and Brandon Capps will bolster the team significantly. With the Tornados set to host the South Atlantic Conference Championship at Etowah Valley Golf Club next April, Nelson hopes that throngs of royal blue and white-clad supporters will give Brevard a home-course advantage and a chance to capture the conference title.

Heckele is considered a major recruit for the program and is a legitimate contender to challenge for the No. 1 position early in the year. A three-time local club champion in his native Oberndorf, Germany, Heckele shot a four-under en route to becoming the German U18 national champion in 2013. He matched that score a year later to finish tied for fourth at the Luxembourg International Championship.

“Steffen is the most talented and accomplished freshman I have recruited in years,” said Nelson. “I expect him to impact the team immediately. His accomplishments back home in Germany speak volumes about his ability to compete at this level.” The experienced player competes with his team in the second German golf league. He is also an accomplished table tennis and soccer player who signed to play for Nelson without having ever stepped foot on American soil.

Capps will add local flair to a roster populated almost exclusively with international talent. The West Henderson High School product finished his prep career by finishing one stroke shy of qualifying for the 3A state finals. Capps is a former Blue Ridge Conference champion and was named all-conference and all-region four times. As a senior, he captured the Western North Carolina Athletic Conference championship, won WNCAC Player of the Year honors, and was named Boys Golfer of the Year by the Hendersonville Times-News.

“Brandon is a very hard-working player that has the ability to contribute at this level. We have not seen his best golf yet. I'm very excited to have him come in at this stage of our team. We have some outstanding experienced players that will mentor Brandon his first year here,” Nelson said. The 86th-ranked player in North Carolina in the 2015 graduating class, Capps has traveled extensively to play prestigious courses like St. Andrews and Carnoustie.

The 2015-2016 season will also bring a familiar face back to Transylvania County. The Tornados will regain Paul Calac, who transferred to UNLV after three semesters at Brevard but plans to compete with the Tornados during his final two years of eligibility.

“Paul brings his talent and leadership back to Brevard after attending UNLV last year in Nevada,” said Nelson. “His first two years here at Brevard were outstanding. His best tournament was a top 10 finish his freshman year at Appalachian State. He's extremely committed to the game and works very hard at getting better. I'm very excited he has decided to return and finish his collegiate career here with us.”

Nelson hopes that the influx of new talent will push a very strong roster to new heights this season. “Last year we were a very young but talented team,” Nelson commented. “We played very well in the spring, but our lack of experience showed in the final rounds of a few tournaments we were close to winning. This year, we have a very balanced and competitive group with the experience to win tournaments.”

The men’s golf team kicks off the season at the Kiawah Island Invitational on September 14 and 15 in South Carolina. The Tornados will host the Etowah Intercollegiate a week later at the Etowah Valley Golf Club, which will also serve as the site of the South Atlantic Conference Championship in April, 2016.

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