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Florida’s Handrigan Recipient of Jan Strickland Award presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf
NORMAN, Okla. – John Handrigan of Florida has been named recipient of the 2015 Jan Strickland 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 excelled in working with their student-athletes both on the course and in the classroom. Handrigan is in his fourth season as the assistant men’s golf coach at the University of Florida. The 2014-15 school year marked his first working alongside head coach JC Deacon after three campaigns assisting GCAA Hall of Fame coach Buddy Alexander. Handrigan, who came to the Gators with 10 years of coaching experience at the Division I and II levels, has helped lead the Orange and Blue to four tournament victories during his tenure. So far this year, Handrigan aided the Florida squad to earn runner-up honors four times and finish in the top-five six times. He coached A.J. Crouch to capture an individual title at the FGCU Classic in October, UF’s first victory in an individual contest since 2012. The Gators also improved five places at the SEC Championships. Prior to arriving in Gainesville, Handrigan served as the assistant men’s golf coach at Kansas for two seasons. He has also served as the head men’s and women’s golf coach at Queens University of Charlotte and the head men’s golf coach at Coker College. Handrigan began his coaching career as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pa. “First, it’s an honor to be selected and recognized with the other impressive nominees for the 2015 Jan Strickland Award as there are a lot of great coaches across the country,” said Handrigan. “To become a finalist, and then win this award after several interviews is truly special. Thank you to the GCAA, Jan Strickland Committee and TaylorMade-adidas Golf for their sponsorship and hard work during the selection process. Winning this award wouldn’t be possible without the support from The University of Florida, former Head Coach Buddy Alexander and our new Head Coach JC Deacon. I want to thank each of our players for their commitment and dedication to Florida Golf as we all achieved this prestigious award as a team. Most importantly I would like to thank my wife Leigh, who has been my biggest supporter throughout my coaching career and I would not have reached this level without her.” The Strickland Award recipient 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.
Albertson Recipient of Byron Nelson Award presented by Cleveland Golf/Srixon
NORMAN, Okla. – Anders Albertson of Georgia Tech has been named recipient of the 2015 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 a graduating senior and the selection committee considers equally a nominee’s entire collegiate academic and golf career as well as 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. A mainstay in the Georgia Tech lineup, Albertson has never missed a tournament for the Yellow Jackets. He’s a two-time All-America selection and earned All-ACC honors three times. Albertson’s career stroke-average of 71.47 over 134 rounds is third best in school history. He has 18 top-10 finishes, including 11 in the top five while at Georgia Tech. Albertson’s lone victory came at the 2013 ACC Championships. Albertson has also found success in the classroom. He is a four-time selection to the ACC Academic Honor Roll. Albertson was named a Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar and to the ACC All-Academic team. He was also recipient of Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Scholarship for 2013-14. Later this spring Albertson will be honored will be a recipient of the ACC Scholar-Athlete Honorary Award. Albertson has served as the golf representative to the Georgia Tech student-athlete advisory board since his sophomore year. He has been active in recruiting his teammates to volunteer for Georgia Tech Athletic Association community service projects and ensured they stayed plugged into department events. Albertson was the golf team liaison for the Alexander-Tharpe Fund “Thank-a-Thon” project and implementation of the Annual Michael Isenhour Toy Drive. He has also volunteered with the Georgia Special Olympics Winter Games, Children’s Miracle Network’s Dance Marathon and Kid on Campus, an organization that brings children to Georgia Tech’s campus who have battled or been affected by cancer. Albertson has also been active in Campus Christian Fellowship, including the Campus Christian Fellowship Homeless Outreach Program. “Being fortunate enough to be chosen as the winner of the Byron Nelson Award is something I never expected, and something I will strive to live up to for the rest of my life,” said Albertson. “Just being considered for the award has been a tremendous honor. Being associated with Mr. Nelson, one of the finest gentlemen the game of golf has ever known, is the honor of a lifetime. His record as a player, a competitor, and a human being are second to none, and definitely stand as the example for anyone in the game. Regardless of the outcome of my next step in golf, if I am sufficiently fortunate to positively affect a fraction of the lives Mr. Nelson did, I will have achieved a very rich life.”
Ron Balicki Scholarship Created For Aspiring College Golf Writers
WARREN, N.J., December 5th, 2014 – Golf, and college golf in particular, lost a great friend in April with the passing of former Golfweek writer Ron Balicki. Balicki, who was days shy of his 66th birthday when he lost his eight-month bout with cancer, wrote about the college and amateur game for more than 30 years, delivering stories not only about the players who would become the PGA Tour’s stars of tomorrow, but stories about amateurs of all talent levels who simply loved to compete.

In hopes of expanding upon Ron’s three decades of journalism excellence, a Ron Balicki Scholarship has been created in his memory. The purpose of this award, to be given annually at the NCAA Championship, is to honor and encourage a student who, in pursuing his or her interest in journalism and writing, exemplifies dedication by writing about college and/or amateur golf.

“To me, Ron Balicki was the ultimate college and amateur golf writer,” said Denny Glass, former tournament director of the Northeast Amateur and chairman of the steering committee for the Ron Balicki Scholarship Fund. “It was always so inspiring to be around Ron while he was working and witness his enthusiasm and dedication to his craft.”

Ron Balicki did not spend his life jumping on airplanes wishing to write about golf tournaments. Instead, he lived to write about the people who played in them. And he told those stories very well, winning several state and national awards, including the Golf Writers Association of America’s Best Column in 1998 for a piece he wrote on Scottish amateur Barclay Howard.

“His best stories,” Debbie Balicki said of her husband, “were always people stories.”

Balicki wrote about college coaches and gave readers an inside view into their programs. A fixture at college and amateur events throughout the country, he touched many lives. The coaches thought so much of him that in 2010, Balicki became the first non-coach inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America’s Hall of Fame.

Phil Mickelson called Balicki when Balicki was hospitalized in March and left him a voicemail to thank Ron for his integrity. When Rickie Fowler decided that he was leaving college early to turn pro in 2009, he stopped in the middle of a practice round and made the one call he knew he needed to make: He phoned Balicki.

“He had written so much about me, about Oklahoma State, and I didn’t hesitate,” Fowler said. “So I called him that day, right in the middle of my practice round.”

Said former Georgia Tech standout Matt Kuchar, “For Ron Balicki to come out and do a proper story on your college tournament, it was a big deal.”

A website for the Ron Balicki Scholarship Fund is under development ( Tax deductible Contributions for the Ron Balicki Scholarship Fund can be made payable to “Ron Balicki Scholarship Fund” and mailed to: Ron Balicki Scholarship Fund, ℅ GCAA, 1225 West Main, Suite 110, Norman OK, 73069. For further information, please contact the GCAA at (866) 422-2669.
Barbasol to Sponsor Jack Nicklaus Awards
LAS VEGAS – Barbasol, America’s #1 Men’s Shaving Cream brand, has become the presenting sponsor for the Jack Nicklaus Award. The Nicklaus Award recognizes the top players at the Division I, II, III, NAIA and NJCAA levels. “We are extremely excited to sponsor the Jack Nicklaus Award and to honor the most elite collegiate golfers in the country,” said Tom Murray, President and CEO of Perio Inc., the parent company of Barbasol. “We look forward to seeing the Award winners on Tour and competing in the Barbasol Championship.” Since 1988, the award for the GCAA Collegiate Players of the Year have been named after Jack Nicklaus, a Big Ten and NCAA Champion and GCAA All-American at The Ohio State University. Mr. Nicklaus annually recognizes the recipients during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide at world renowned Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, just outside of Nicklaus’ hometown of Columbus. Winners of the Nicklaus Award include Tiger Woods (1996), Phil Mickelson (1990-92), David Duval (1993), Justin Leonard (1994), Stewart Cink (1995), Luke Donald (1999), Hunter Mahan (2003), Bill Haas (2004) and Ryan Moore (2005) among many others. Award recipients have combined for over 200 victories worldwide and claimed 22 major championships. The perpetual Jack Nicklaus Award trophy is displayed in the Jack Nicklaus Museum on the campus of The Ohio State University. Beginning with the 2015 Nicklaus Award, 20 semifinalists for each division will be named in late April while five finalists will be selected prior to their respective championships. Additionally, Barbasol will sponsor the All-Nicklaus Team, which recognizes 24 honorees from across NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, the NAIA and the NJCAA for outstanding play over the course of the collegiate season. The All-Nicklaus Team plaques are displayed prominently in the Memorial Tournament’s Media Center at Muirfield Village Golf Club. “We are very excited that Barbasol will join the GCAA in honoring the Jack Nicklaus Award recipients,” said GCAA President Conrad Ray. “We’re pleased to not only be partnering with someone that has a passion for golf, but a company that supports so many of the ideals that make the game special, including integrity, the value of hard work and giving back to the community.” About Barbasol:
Barbasol, America’s #1 Men’s Shaving Cream brand was introduced as the first “brushless” tube of shaving cream in 1919. Currently offered in 7 varieties, Original, Soothing Aloe, Pacific Rush, Sensitive Skin, Skin Conditioner, Arctic Chill and Mountain Blast, Barbasol continues to be made in America and is available at major retailers nationwide. Barbasol is owned by Dublin, Ohio based Perio Inc. For more information about Barbasol, please visit
Van de Velde; Heppler to Coach Palmer Cup Teams
LAS VEGAS – Former Ryder Cup player Jean Van de Velde and Bruce Heppler will serve as coaches of the European and United States Palmer Cup teams, respectively, at Rich Harvest Farms. The annual Ryder Cup-style competition will be played June 12-14.  Van de Velde won the French amateur championship in 1986 and represented France in the World Team Amateur and the Continent against GB&I in the St. Andrews Trophy later that year. He launched his professional career in 1987. Van de Velde claimed his first European Tour event at the Roma Masters in 1993. In 1999, Van de Velde finished runner-up at The Open Championship and became the first French player to qualify for the Ryder Cup.  After injuring his knee skiing and undergoing two surgical reconstructions, it was feared Van de Velde may not play again. However, he regained his card in 2005 by virtue of his second-place finish at the Open de France and earned an emotional victory at the Madeira Island Open in 2006 for his final win on the European Tour. In addition to his appearances in the Ryder Cup, World Team Amateur and St. Andrews Trophy, Van de Velde represented France in 12 World Cups. He helped lead the Continent to victory over GB&I at the 2000 Seve Cup and Van de Velde captained at the 2011 event. Van de Velde will also serve as Team Europe’s head coach for the 2016 Palmer Cup at Formby Golf Club on England’s Golf Coast. “I feel very honored to have been appointed coach of the European Team of the Palmer Cup,” said Van de Velde. “It is a privilege, as well as a responsibility, to try guiding some of tomorrow’s future stars of the game. I hope that everyone involved with Team Europe will continue the successes our predecessors established. It is a big task, but we will try our utmost best, in doing so prolonging the values of our wonderful sport.” This will be the second stint as head coach of the United States Palmer Cup team for Heppler. The Georgia Tech head coach was the first American Palmer Cup coach to face a team composed of European Players when the event was held at Cassique in 2003. Heppler has guided the Yellow Jackets to the NCAA Championship every year since 1998, and helped author 11 top-8 finishes in the Finals, including three runner-up showings. Tech is currently on a run unprecedented in school history - seven Atlantic Coast Conference titles in the last nine years and four trips to match play at the NCAA Championship in the last five. During his tenure, Tech has won or shared 10 Atlantic Coast Conference titles. Only two ACC coaches have led their teams to more ACC titles than has Heppler. The Yellow Jackets have captured or shared 44 team titles overall. He was named ACC Coach of the Year in 2014 for the eighth time, more than any coach in ACC history except one, and was a finalist for the GCAA’s Dave Williams national coach of the year award. Since 2000, the Yellow Jackets have finished in the top 10 of the final Golfstat rankings 11 times, and in the final Golfweek/Sagarin top 10 twelve times. Tech has not finished lower than 14th in either ranking in any year.   Heppler has recruited and developed his share of star players as well. The Yellow Jackets have had at least a pair of All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorees in 16 of the last 17 years, and landed four members of the team on the squad twice (2005, 2011). Tech has had at least two players earn All-America honors 14 of the last 16 years, and Ollie Schniederjans became the Jackets’ 20th first-team selection in 2014. Three of his players, Matt Kuchar, Bryce Molder and Troy Matteson, have been named national players of the year.  His players have been just as successful in the classroom. Tech’s golf program has been recognized with a perfect Academic Progress Report score of 1000 for eight straight years, and every senior has graduated. Twelve different players under Heppler have been named All-America Scholars by the GCAA. Molder and Roberto Castro, have received the NCAA’s Top VIII Award, an honor given to eight student-athletes from all sports each year and recognizes those who excel in their sport and in the classroom, and exhibit high character, leadership and service to others. Three Georgia Tech golfers, Matteson, Castro and James White, have been honored with the Byron Nelson Award presented by Cleveland Golf/Srixon. Heppler was a 2013 inductee to the GCAA Hall of Fame and serves as the Association’s treasurer.  “I am certainly honored to be selected as part of this year’s Palmer Cup,” said Heppler. “Any time you get a chance to represent your country and peers in any form it becomes a special opportunity. I know Rich Harvest Farms is committed to having a great event for these great players. I’m looking forward to a great week for these special players.” The United States leads the Palmer Cup series 9-8-1.
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Palmer Cup Teams

Team USA


Team Europe

1.    Anders Albertson    Georgia Tech    SR   1.    Pep Angles    Central Arkansas    SR
2.    Beau Hossler    Texas    SO   2.    Rowin Caron     Florida State    JR 
3.    Kyle Jones    Baylor    SR   3.    Thomas Detry    Iliinois    JR 
4.    Jack Maguire    Florida State    SO   4.    Mathias Eggenberger    Stirling     
5.    Lee McCoy    Georgia    JR   5.    Gary Hurley    Maynooth      
6.    Maverick McNealy    Stanford    SO   6.    Adrian Meronk     ETSU     JR 
7.    Ollie Schniederjans    Georgia Tech    SR   7.    Jon Rahm    Arizona State     JR 
8.    Robby Shelton    Alabama    SO   8.    Max Rottluff    Arizona State     JR 
9.    Hunter Stewart    Vanderbilt    JR   9.    Matthias Schwab     Vanderbilt     SO
10.    Carr Vernon    CSU Monterey Bay     JR   10.    Clement Sorbet     Texas Tech    SR
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