Sam Saunders is in his first season as an assistant coach with the New Mexico men’s golf program, coming back to his alma mater in August, 2023 after concluding a professional golf career.
Saunders was a two-time Academic All-American during his collegiate career at New Mexico, helping the Lobos win the 2014 Mountain West championship. He earned All-Mountain West honors as a senior in 2015 after posting a career-best 72.69 stroke average for the season. He earned Mountain West Golfer of the Week recognition after a top-five finish to lead UNM to the team title at the 2015 3M Augusta Invitational. Saunders also reached the round of 32 of the 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links, defeating Talor Gooch in the first round of match play.
After graduation, Saunders spent seven years as a professional golfer, playing on numerous tours. He played one season on the Korn Ferry Tour, four seasons playing on PGA Tour Canada and two seasons playing on PGA Tour Latinoamérica. During his career, he posted seven professional victories and made one appearance on the PGA Tour, the 2022 Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.
A graduate of La Cueva High School, Saunders was the 2009 Class 5A individual state champion while leading the Bears to two team state championships. In 2013, he was the Sun Country Amateur Golfer of the Year.
Saunders’ family has a rich tradition with Lobo golf. Sam’s older brother, Steve, was an All-American and Mountain West individual champion while playing for UNM from 2006-09. His uncles Jack Saunders (1985-89) and Jeff Fulweiler (1976-77) also golfed for the Lobos.