Nov. 14, 2017
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After a successful first fall season with the Irish, Notre Dame men’s golf head coach John Handrigan continued the growth of the program this week when he announced the signings of Taichi Kho and Andrew O’Leary.
“I couldn’t be happier about Coach Gump and I’s first recruiting class at Notre Dame,” head coach John Handrigan said. “Both players will make a significant impact on Notre Dame Golf and will be great assets to our University academically and athletically.”
Hailing all the way from Hong Kong, Taichi Kho attends Discovery College where he was recently named the MVP Golfer and Sportsman of the Year. Kho has continuously displayed steadied growth, improving his stroke average every year: 80.7 in 2014, 76.2 in 2015, 73.6 in 2016 and 71.7 in 2017.
Kho earned his first victory at the 2016 Hong Kong Junior Open, then later secured his first professional win at the Hong Kong PGA Order of Merit Leg 1, becoming the first amateur to win the event. Kho has also picked up tournament championships over the past year at the Hong Kong Junior Close, Truevisions International, the Jack Nicklaus Junior and the ISSFHK.
“Taichi has already proven he is a great player and recently shot a 65-66 to qualify for a European PGA Tour event,” Coach Handrigan stated. “He has what it takes to be highly successful in college and it’s up to Coach Gump and I to take his game to the next level. Taichi is an exceptional person and will represent Notre Dame with class.”
Back stateside, Andrew O’Leary hails from Norfolk, Mass., where he attends Catholic Memorial High School. O’Leary has led the Knights to two State Championships (2016, 2017) and one South Sectional title (2015). He is a five-time conference All-Star (2013-17) and the 2016 Boston Globe Player of the Year.
Ranked 47th overall for the Class of 2018, O’Leary has produced five top-10 finishes in AJGA events, including third at the Ranch Southwick and sixth at Penn State. Other notable finishes for O’Leary include first place at the 2016 Computer Merchant Championship, second at the Massachusetts 99th Junior Amateur, and lastly 25th out of 156 players at the USGA Boys Junior Amateur Championship.
“When I evaluated Andrew at the U.S Junior I knew immediately that he’s a perfect fit for Notre Dame Golf,” Handrigan explained. “He’s extremely talented, loves the game, and most importantly, Andrew has strong character and will be a great teammate.”
Though Irish fans will have to wait till next fall to catch Kho and O’Leary donning the Blue & Gold, the 2017-18 Notre Dame men’s golf squad will return to action Feb. 11 at the Martin Downs Collegiate in Palm City, Fla.
Josh Bates joined Fighting Irish Media as associate athletics communications director in July of 2017, serving as the women’s basketball and men’s golf contact. Bates earned both his bachelor’s (2011) and master’s (2014) degree in sports management from the University of Illinois. He also worked as a grad assistant at Illinois from 2012-14 and worked full-time at Tulane University from 2014-17.