Two Sophomores, One Senior Named The Ben Hogan Award Finalists
FORT WORTH, Texas (May 8, 2013) – The Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resortsbrand, in conjunction with Colonial Country Club, The Friends of Golf (FOG) and the Golf Coaches Association of America, has announced the three finalists for the 2013 The Ben Hogan Award. Alphabetically, the finalists are: TCU sophomore Julien Brun, California sophomore Michael Kim and Washington senior Chris Williams.
Brun, a native of Antibes, France, has recorded a trio of collegiate victories this season, winning the Carmel Cup, Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate and National Invitational Tournament. In addition, the first-team All-Big 12 selection has eight top-10 finishes in 11 events while posting a 70.45 scoring average. Brun also had a runner-up finish atthe 2012 NCAA Championships, the first event of the current award’s season.
In addition, Brun won the European Challenge Tour’s 2012 ALLIANZ Open Toulouse, becoming the sixth amateur ever to win on the professional tour. A key figure in Team Europe’s comeback victory at the 2012 Palmer Cup, he recently earned a spot on the 2013 European squad. In the fall, he placed fourth individually at the World Amateur Team Championship while representing France.
Kim is currently the No. 1-ranked player in both the Golfweek/Sagarin college rankings as well as in the Golfstat individual rankings. The sophomore, who was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year on Tuesday, has four individual collegiate victories to his credit, winning the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational, Arizona Intercollegiate, Fresno State Lexus Classic and Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters. In 12 college tournaments this season, he has finished no lower than 11th.
Kim also has helped California equal the NCAA single-season team victory record (10). A native of Del Mar, Calif., he will compete on the United States’ 2013 Palmer Cup team. In amateur competition last summer, he reached the match play at the 2012 U.S. Amateur and advanced to the round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur Public Links. He also had five top-10 finishes in amateur stroke play events.
Williams is the world’s No.1-ranked amateur in both the World Amateur Golf Rankings and the Scratch Players World Rankings. He was the 2012 recipient of the Mark H. McMormack Medal as the world’s top-ranked amateur to clinch berths into the 2013 U.S. Open and the Open Championship. A product ofMoscow, Idaho, he swept the 2012 Western Amateur match play and stroke play titles. He also advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur last summer.
Collegiately, Williams has seven top-10 finishes in 10 events this year, including three runner-up showings. The first-team All-Pac-12 selection boasts a 71.06 season stroke average. Additionally, he helped the United States claim the Eisenhower Trophy at the World Amateur Team Championships in the fall. He also competed for Team USA in the Palmer Cup and the Copa de las Americas.
All three finalists will attend a black-tie banquet at Colonial Country Club on Monday, May 20, prior to the start of the PGA TOUR’s Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. The winner will be crowned at the banquet, which will be streamed live beginning at 7 p.m. (CT). The keynote speaker is Corey Pavin, a two-time Colonial winner, 1995 U.S. Open champion and former U.S. Ryder Cup team captain and player.
The 2013 The Ben Hogan Award recipient will receive an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s 2014 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, as well as earn agrant for its men’s golf scholarship program. Last year, the winner’s university received a $20,000 grant, while the other finalists’ schools each received $10,000 grants.
The Ben Hogan Award is presented annually to the top men’s NCAA Division I, II or III, NAIA or NJCAA college golfer taking into account all collegiate and amateur competitions during the 12-month period dating from the previous award’s banquet. The Ben Hogan Award selection committee is made up of 23 leaders and experts in amateur, college and professional golf.
This year marks the first year that the Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts brand is the official sponsor of The Ben Hogan Award. The Crowne Plaza brand is in its second year of sponsorship with PGA TOUR professional golfer Rickie Fowler, the 2008 winner of The Ben Hogan Award. The Crowne Plaza brand is the title sponsor of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial through 2015. In addition, IHG®, the parent company of the Crowne Plaza brand, is the Official Hotel and Resort Partner of the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Web.com Tour. The 2013 Crowne Plaza Invitational atColonial will be held May 20-26 at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. The Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial is the longest running PGA TOUR tournament still being held at the original site. Visit www.crowneplaza.com/golf for more.
The award, which was first issued in 1990 and included academic achievement in its original list of standards, revised its criteria for the 2001-02 collegiate season to its current standard of honoring the outstanding amateur collegiate golfer. Since that time, the winners have been: D.J. Trahan (Clemson, 2002), Ricky Barnes (Arizona, 2003), Hunter Mahan (Oklahoma State, 2003), Bill Haas (Wake Forest, 2004), Ryan Moore (UNLV, 2005), Matt Every (Florida, 2006), Chris Kirk (Georgia, 2007), Rickie Fowler (Oklahoma State, 2008), Kyle Stanley (Clemson, 2009), NickTaylor (Washington, 2010), Peter Uihlein (Oklahoma State, 2011) and Patrick Cantlay (UCLA, 2012).
Notable finalists in recent years include: Bud Cauley (Alabama), Russell Henley (Georgia), Anthony Kim (Oklahoma), Spencer Levin (New Mexico), Jordan Spieth (Texas) and Michael Thompson (Alabama).
To find the latest information on The Ben Hogan Award, its candidates and its previous winners, visit the official web site www.TheBenHoganAward.org and follow @BenHoganAward on Twitter.
Paolini Recipient of Byron Nelson Award presented by Cleveland Golf/Srixon
NORMAN, Okla. – Brinson Paolini of Duke has been named recipient of the 2013 Byron Nelson Award presented by Cleveland Golf/Srixon, in cooperation with the Four Seasons Resort and Club Las Colinas, the Salesmanship Club of Dallas and the Golf Coaches Association of America.
Candidates for the Nelson Award must be graduating seniors and the selection committee considers equally a nominee’s entire collegiate academic and golf career and his character and integrity while in college. Particular consideration will be given to a nominee’s good citizenship, as portrayed by Mr. Byron Nelson over the course of his life and golf career.
An All-America and three-time All-Region selection, Paolini has excelled both on the golf course and in the classroom during his Duke career. He has played in 44 tournaments for the Blue Devils and his 72.25 stroke average ranks second in school history. Paolini is also second in career rounds in the 60s (26), rounds even par or better (67) and top-five finishes (12). He ranks third in Duke annals in rounds under par (46) and top-10 (18) and top-20 (27) finishes. Paolini is a three-time All-ACC Academic team selection and has been named a Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar. He has been a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee two years serving as secretary this season.
Paolini has stayed active in his home community of Virginia Beach while also becoming involved in the Durham area during his tenure at Duke. He has continued to promote junior golf in Virginia Beach by hosting golf clinics at his home club, Princess Ann Country Club, and The First Tee of Virginia Beach. Paolini also helped form an award that would recognize the hardest working junior golfer both on and off the course for the year at Princess Ann Country Club.
He volunteered at the Durham City Soup Kitchen and participates in the Read with the Blue Devils program. This past January Paolini took part in Duke’s Stop Hunger Now MLK Million Meals Event, which packaged thousands of meals and distributed them worldwide to those in need. He also walked in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s “Light the Night Walk” - a fundraiser to celebrate and commemorate lives of those impacted by blood cancer.
“I am honored and humbled to receive the Byron Nelson Award,” said Paolini. “Mr. Nelson was an incredible golfer as well as a committed, generous and compassionate man. He has been a role model for me and many others in golf and in life. All of the five finalists are wonderful golfers and even better people and any one of us could have been selected. Receiving the award, though, allows me to honor the people who made it possible -- my teammates, my school, my coaches, my family and of course Mr. Nelson and his family. I am so grateful for the examples they’ve set. Going forward I will do my best to uphold the values, integrity, and citizenship that Mr. Nelson established as a standard for all of us.”
Murphy Wins Jan Strickland Award presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf
NORMAN, Okla. – Ryan Murphy of Texas has been named recipient of the 2013 Jan Strickland Assistant Coach of the Year Award presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf as selected by the GCAA. The Strickland Award is presented to the NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA or NJCAA assistant coach that, among other things, has helped their student-athletes excel both on the course and in the classroom.
Murphy, formerly the head men’s golf coach at St. Edward’s and assistant coach at New Mexico, assumed his post for the Texas men’s golf program prior to the 2008 season. He helped guide the Longhorns to the 2012 NCAA championship and was instrumental in the recruiting and development of First-Team All-America selections Dylan Frittelli and Jordan Spieth. Additionally, Frittelli was co-recipient of the Byron Nelson Award and Spieth was a finalist for the Ben Hogan Award. A club repair specialist, Murphy works closely with the team in club fitting. He also works closely with team members regarding golf course strategies and course management. The Longhorns have claimed five victories this season, including the Big 12 Championship.
“I am very honored and humbled to win the Jan Strickland Award,” said Murphy. “I know that it is due, in large part, to the efforts that our players have made over the past few years and most certainly due to the opportunity that John Fields has given to me here at Texas. I am very grateful to be at such a wonderful University and to have the opportunity to work in a profession that I love. I also want to mention that I have the best wife in the world. It is not always easy being married to a college golf coach because of our travel demands…my wife Terry has always understood that and has been extremely supportive over the years; and for that I am extremely grateful!”
Murphy will have the opportunity to further his professional development by receiving an invitation to the TaylorMade-adidas Golf Kingdom in Carlsbad, Calif.
TaylorMade-adidas Golf has sponsored the Strickland Award since its inception in 2003.
Prokay of Robert Morris Recipient of David Toms Award
Ryan Prokay, a sophomore at Robert Morris University, has been named recipient of the David Toms Award. The Toms Award is presented to a men’s collegiate golfer who has overcome adversity to achieve collegiate excellence.
When he was in the third grade Prokay was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome due to motor and vocal tics. His first symptoms were involuntary eye rolling when he was five years old but have become more severe over the years and leads Prokay to twitch and vocalize noises uncontrollably.
One of the greatest challenges with Tourette syndrome is that the tics evolve over time. A specific tic might last for several months before becoming replaced with a new tic. This has led to an ongoing challenge for Prokay as he must continuously cope with a new tic and adjust his coping strategy.
When Prokay was in the fourth grade he started a vitamin supplement designed specifically for Tourette syndrome. This supplement helped to somewhat suppress his tics until he was 17. While competing at a U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier he became extremely fatigued and had difficulty walking. After the qualifier Prokay consulted with several doctors and they began treating him with antibiotics for Lyme disease. The antibiotics made Prokay’s tics even worse. His condition was further complicated when the vitamin supplement which had helped for many years began to cause difficulty breathing. It was determined that the virus Prokay had contracted caused him to become allergic to the supplement and he had to discontinue its use. Additionally, the complicating illness made Prokay extremely weak and it became almost impossible to walk 18 holes during tournament play.
Since beginning his collegiate golf career Prokay’s symptoms have included twitching and self-hitting so severe that he has broken several ribs. He also struggles with anxiety and depression. Everyday tasks that most people take for granted present obstacles for Prokay. In the classroom he must suppress his symptoms to the best of his ability while also trying to actively engage in the learning process. On the golf course it might take a couple of minutes for Prokay to calm himself before he can concentrate and hit his shot.
Despite these challenges Prokay has excelled both in the classroom and on the golf course. He currently maintains a 3.96 GPA and a 76.3 stroke average for his career. Prokay views golf as a gift and refuge. It has provided an outlet giving him something to focus on and not dwell on his symptoms. He credits it with not only helping him to overcome his adversity but provide a special camaraderie with his teammates.
Much to Prokay’s credit, he is quick to point out those that have helped him face the obstacles that have been placed in his path. From the tremendous amount of support he has received from his parents to the friends, coaches, counselors, doctors and teachers, Prokay notes that he has not handled Tourette syndrome single-handedly. He is also quick to point out that he does not look for pity and prefers to be recognized as a good student and golfer than a golfer with Tourette syndrome.
“Winning this award means a lot to me,” said Prokay. “I overcome some very difficult challenges in my life and it is nice to be recognized for overcoming those challenges. I would like to thank David Toms, the GCAA and the award committee for selecting me for this prestigious award. I would also like to thank my family and friends for the support they have given me throughout my life. None of this would be possible without their help.”