COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina men’s golf signed a pair of international players on Friday the program announced. Ismael Encias (Mexico) and Pearce Lewin (South Africa) each signed National Letters of Intent to continue their amateur careers on the course with the Gamecocks.
“As you look across the SEC, almost 40 percent of the starting lineups are integrated internationally,” said associate head coach Brady Gregor. “This is a great reflection of where professional and NCAA golf is globally, and it’s a great thing for our sport. We are committed to bringing in the best players in the world regardless of where they’re from. We believe we have found that in Ismael and Pearce from a physical standpoint but are also just as excited about the character they bring to this team as young men.”
Encias hails from Huixquilucan, Mexico State. He will enroll in classes for the spring semester and be immediately eligible to play. In the last two years, Encias has 15 top-10 finishes with three wins in 29 counting events for World Amateur Golf Ranking.
His most recent top finish was a runner-up showing at LXII Campeonato Nacional Interzonas Lorena Ochoa in April. Encias shot 209 (-7) with three straight rounds under par. He posted back-to-back wins in the fall of 20022 at III Copa Norte and XII Copa Zona Centro. He shot 210 (-6) and 209 (-7), respectively, in the two events with four scores in the 60s including a pair of 66s.
“Ismael was the No. 2 ranked player from Mexico when he committed to being a Gamecock and has continued to improve his game as he transitioned away from junior events and into high level amateur events,” said Gregor. “He will be joining us this spring and coming off a big win recently. His game is in a spot where he can make an immediate impact for us in the lineup whether that is this spring or next fall.”
Encinas finished T-33rd at the 2022 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Bandon Dunes. He shot 141 with scores of 70 and 71 to get into match play where he fell 8&7 to Caleb Surratt, the current No. 10 amateur in the world. Encinas also finished 25th in the 2022 International Junior Masters and 36th in the 2022 Rolex Tournament of Champions.
Lewin, who is from Cape Town, Western Province, has notched four top-10 finishes with one victory in seven counting events for his World Amateur Golf Ranking so far in 2023. The win camed at the Nomads South Africa Boys U19 Championship in the spring. He shot 280 over the…