Men's golf signee Bjorn Akesson continues to impress
Arizona State men's golf coach Randy Lein's pipeline to signing and producing great foreign players has added another Swede beginning in 2008-2009. Bjorn Akesson, Sweden's Junior Player of the Year, inked a letter-of-intent with ASU in the fall signing period and all indications are that he could make the same kind of impact as recent overseas transplants such as Alejandro Canizares and Niklas Lemke. Akesson is currently ranked 19th in the World Golf Amateur Rankings.
Akesson of Malmo, Sweden, won his first American Junior Golf Association title with a 3-and-2 victory over Sean Dale of Jacksonville, Fla., in the Boys Division match play finals at the Polo Golf Junior Classic the week of Thanksgiving.
The Polo Golf Junior Classic, which has been conducted annually since 1978, marked the first tournament of the AJGA's 2008 season. The 160-player invitation-only field was made up of boys and girls ages 12-18 from 29 states and 11 foreign countries. Former champions include Stewart Cink (1989), Trevor Immelman (1995), Tiger Woods (1991), Paula Creamer (2002), Grace Park (1994, 1996) and Morgan Pressel (2004).
The Polo Golf Junior Classic marked the last junior event for Akesson, who turns 19 years old in January and is now the second Swede to capture the Polo Golf Junior Classic title, as fellow countryman and ASU All-American Niklas Lemke took the honors in 2002.
Akesson played on the 3-man team a year ago with former Sun Devil Niklas Lemke in the World Cup Amateur Championship in South Africa and was part of Sweden's World Junior Championship team last June. He has represented Sweden the last three years on the European Team and World Junior Team championships.
"Bjorn has an abundance of international experience and is definitely a world class player," says 16th-year ASU head golf coach Randy Lein, as ASU will have 11 full-time players on the PGA Tour in 2008. "I first saw Bjorn play in Italy in 2005 at the European Boys Championship and have watched him play in seven tournaments since then and he has proven each time to be at or near the top. At the World Junior Championship last June he tied for third at 19-under with (current Sun Devil) Jesper Kennegard with Sweden taking the World title. I watched Bjorn play a year ago at the World Amateur where he joined former Sun Devil Niklas Lemke in representing Sweden in the three-man event. Although Bjorn's demeanor is very relaxed he is very competitive. He will be a great addition to our team next fall."