Paul Sansom to play golf for Middle
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

Russellville’s Paul Neal Sansom is an integral part of what could be “the strongest recruiting class” in what is becoming one of the top golf programs in the nation.

The senior Panther, who was named Outstanding Senior Golfer in Kentucky and to the 12-man HP Junior Scholastic All-American Team last fall, is one of five highly talented young golfers who have decided to build their futures at Middle Tennessee State University.
At an official signing ceremony Jan. 21, Sansom said he chose to play for the Blue Raiders after being recruited by several other universities. He made official visits to Purdue, Louisville, Belmont, Austin Peay and Middle Tennessee. "I narrowed it down to Louisville and Middle, but it was so cold in Louisville the day I went while Middle is further south and has great facilities."

Coach Whit Turnbow said a major factor in the signing of this recruiting class was the Middle Tennessee facility at Champions Run Golf Club near Murfreesboro. "It has been huge for us in recruiting, and is a tremendous facility. It's the first thing prospective recruits want to see when they get here. It's been great," said Turnbow.
This state-of-the-art practice and training center offers the latest technology in game improvement techniques and allows MTSU golfers a facility to keep their skills sharp during the winter months. It includes four ball striking bays with 16-foot roll-up doors to hit balls from indoors onto the driving range. One bay has the EXPLANAR-Golf Training System based around the fundamental principles of the Swing Plane and the biomechanics of the body, promoting the ideal movements required for the golf swing. Two bays are equipped with three video cameras with software for video swing analysis. Each bay has a 42-inch plasma TV. The second level consists of 800 square feet of putting area which is equipped with the TOMI putting software for putting analysis..
Additionally, Middle Tennessee's golf program is becoming a national contender. The Blue Raiders are ranked 25th in the nation and won two of their four tournaments in the fall part of the schedule. They are the defending Sun Belt Conference champions.

Turnbow announced the first three of the five signees at the same time. In addition to Sansom, they are Sammy Thompson of Paducah and Brett Patterson of McMinnville, Tenn. "These three are certainly a great way to start our signing class," declared Turnbow. "All three young men, first and foremost, are great students, ranked highly in their class, and they are exactly the kind of student-athlete that we are looking for at Middle Tennessee. We expect these three to come in and contribute right away, which is why we recruited them."

About the RHS star, a press release from the university says: "Sansom was sixth at the AJGA Bluegrass Junior tournament, 3rd in the Florida Junior Championship, 2nd at the PGA Junior Series Championship and third in the Kentucky High School Championship. Sansom, who was also recruited by Purdue and Louisville, will be a Presidential Scholar at Middle Tennessee. 'Paul is a very solid player with a knack for playing well on difficult golf courses,' said Turnbow."
Sansom has been a golfer most of his life. His mother, RHS science teacher Shawn Sansom, is a former coach of Lady Panther golf. His sister Victoria had an outstanding career playing for the Lady Panthers and became a member of the Western Kentucky University golf team. She was WKU's overall female Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2009. As a little boy, Paul was on the golf course with his sister and has practiced with Western players. Part of his love for sports comes from his dad, Adairville Principal Paul Sansom, who was a running back for RHS football.

Paul Neal Sansom played number one for the Panthers for five years. Coach Dennis Pardue's teams won back-to-back regional team championships and finished in the top 10 at state both years. This season Sansom was the leader after the first round of golf in the state tournament at Bowling Green Country Club before finishing third. He was a first-team all-stater, as was his future Blue Raider teammate Thompson.
Sansom gives unlimited credit to local professional golfer Phillip Hatchett for his development as a golfer. He's taken lessons from Hatchett every week for years. Paul will be able to email those videos made at the training center to Hatchett for his critique and suggestions for improvement throughout his college career. "They encourage us to continue using the coaches we're comfortable with," Sansom notes..
He was a Wendy's Heismann Kentucky state finalist and was The Zone magazine's Athlete of the Month for the region in October.
Paul Neal Sansom has known great success so far in life. That Presidential Scholarship comes from his having an unweighted grade point average of a perfect 4.0. He has earned AP Scholar designation and has been Rotary Student of the Month as well as . He is president of First Priority Club at RHS and a member of National Honor Society and Beta. A former member of the baseball team, he is official scorekeeper for the boys basketball team. He also plays bass guitar at First Baptist Church and is a member of the church's handbell choir.
He will have his work cut out to get extensive playing time on the Blue Raiders team, which will return six of eight players next year in addition to the five recruits. Patterson is ranked as the No. 28 prospect in the nation in the Class of 2010. He was recruited by Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Memphis, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Iowa State. Thompson was 9th at both the AJGA Lessings Classic and the Kentucky High School Championship. Jordan Jennings is the reigning Tennessee State Junior Champion as well as the defending Tennessee State Class AAA high school champion, and Andrew Cho, from Seoul, Korea, played in the 2009 U.S. Amateur at Southern Hills Country Club.

Parents Shawn and Paul Sansom said, "The Sansom family would like to thank the businesses and individuals who have supported the RHS golf team as well as all RHS athletics throughout the years. Support of local athletics has such a positive effect on the young people of the community, and helps shape a successful future for Russellville students."

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