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Blagg Recipient of Jan Strickland Award presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf
NORMAN, Okla. – Baylor’s Ryan Blagg was named recipient of the 2017 Jan Strickland Outstanding Assistant Coach 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. “It is an incredible honor to be recognized as the Jan Strickland Award recipient,” said Blagg. “I feel extremely blessed to be in the company of all the past winners. I’d like to thank the GCAA, TaylorMade-adidas, the Jan Strickland Award committee, Coach (Mike) McGraw and our team. I’m really excited to see what the future holds for Baylor Golf.” Blagg is in his fifth season as an assistant coach for the Baylor men’s golf program. He was a 2016 finalist for the Jan Strickland Award. The Bears have claimed three tournament victories and placed in the top four in all but two events this season. Braden Bailey, Cooper Dossey and Matthew Perrine won or tied for medalist honors this season and earned All-Big 12 honors. Additionally, Dossey was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. Baylor led the Big 12 with seven student-athletes on the Academic All-Big 12 Golf Teams, including six first-teamers. Baylor will compete at the Stanford Regional May 15-17. “Ryan is very deserving of this prestigious award,” stated Baylor Head Men’s Golf Coach Mike McGraw. “He is one of the hardest working and most efficient golf coaches I have ever seen. It will also please our players that he is being honored because he has made such an impact on this team.” 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.
GCAA and WGCA To Present Mark Laesch Awards
NORMAN, Okla. – The Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) and Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) will award the first annual Mark Laesch Awards following this spring’s NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships.

The Mark Laesch Awards will be presented to the team that showed the greatest improvement from the previous season in adjusted stroke average after the conclusion of their national championship. For the GCAA, programs will be recognized from the NCAA Division I, II and III levels, along with NAIA and NJCAA. NCAA Divisions I, II and III will be honored by the WGCA.

“We’re both excited and humbled to present these awards that honor a man that had such a great passion and impact on college golf and also recognize a program’s improvement from one season to the next,” said GCAA President Andrew Sapp and WGCA President Kristi Knight in a joint statement. “Mark Laesch was such a positive person that it seems appropriate that an award that acknowledges improvement be bestowed in his honor.”

- GCAA/WGCA -

WGCA:
The Women’s Golf Coaches Association, founded in 1983, is a non-profit organization representing women’s collegiate golf coaches. The WGCA was formed to encourage the playing of college golf for women in correlation with a general objective of education and in accordance with the highest tradition of intercollegiate competition. Today, the WGCA represents nearly 600 coaches throughout the U.S. and is dedicated to educating, promoting and recognizing both its members and the student-athletes they represent.
GCAA:
Established in 1958, the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) is the professional organization of golf coaches. The GCAA's mission is to support its member coaches by creating educational opportunities, providing resources, and promoting its members with the purpose of enhancing their overall performance as coaches, mentors, and teachers. The GCAA also recognizes the excellence and achievements of its members and their student-athletes in academic, athletic and civic endeavors.
Stanford’s McNealy Recipient of Byron Nelson Award presented by Srixon/Cleveland Golf
NORMAN, Okla. – Maverick McNealy of Stanford has been named recipient of the 2017 Byron Nelson Award presented by Srixon/Cleveland Golf, 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 native of Portola Valley, Calif., McNealy is tied with Tiger Woods and Patrick Rodgers for career victories at Stanford with 11. He is a two-time PING First-Team All-America selection and twice been named All-Pac 12 First Team. In 2015 as a sophomore, McNealy received the Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award presented by Barbasol. The two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year has twice been named a finalist for the Ben Hogan Award. Last month he was selected for the third time to represent the United States in the Arnold Palmer Cup. McNealy has been a stalwart in the lineup all four years at Stanford. The past three years he has posted scoring averages of 69.05, 69.51 and 69.87, which led the Cardinal. In addition to the 11 career victories, McNealy has placed in the top 10 26 times. A Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar, McNealy has also excelled in the classroom while majoring in management science and engineering. He also earned All-Pac 12 Academic the past two seasons. Off the golf course, McNealy has participated, along with the men’s golf team, in hosting multiple afternoon golf clinics for members of East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring (EPATT), an after-school tutoring and athletics program for disadvantaged students in East Palo Alto. He served as host for the most recent EPATT golf clinic. McNealy is a member of the Cardinal Council, Stanford’s student-athlete representative body, which acts as a liaison between Stanford athletics, the athletic department, Stanford University and the NCAA. “It is an absolute honor to be the recipient of this award, one that carries on Mr. Nelson’s legacy,” said McNealy. “I am humbled to be thought of as an exemplar of what he stood for, and his example will continue to serve as a great model in golf and life. I look forward to the challenge of representing and upholding the values of this award to the best of my abilities.”
Semifinalists for 2017 Ben Hogan Award named
FORT WORTH, Texas (April 12, 2017) – Colonial Country Club, Friends of Golf (FOG) and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) have announced that nine first-time semifinalists are among the 10 players in contention for the 2017 Ben Hogan Award presented by Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. (Konica Minolta). The semifinalists, in alphabetical order, are: Sam Burns (LSU, So.), Wyndham Clark (Oregon, Sr.), Sean Crocker (Southern California, Jr.), Jared du Toit (Arizona State, Sr.), Nick Hardy (Illinois, Jr.), Maverick McNealy (Stanford, Sr.), Dylan Meyer (Illinois, Jr.), Collin Morikawa (California, So.), Matthias Schwab (Vanderbilt, Sr.) and Will Zalatoris (Wake Forest, Jr.). McNealy, a two-time award finalist (2015, 2016), is the lone player ever to previously appear as a semifinalist. Each semifinalist’s school will once again receive a scholarship grant for its men’s golf program. Since 2002, more than $500,000 in scholarships has been awarded to more than two dozen schools. The Ben Hogan Award is issued 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 past 12-month period. The award’s selection dommittee, which votes during each stage of the process, is comprised of 24 leaders and experts in professional, amateur and collegiate golf. On Wednesday, May 3, the group will be pared down to three finalists. The three finalists will then travel to Fort Worth, Texas, to attend a black-tie banquet where the winner will be crowned at Colonial Country Club on Monday, May 22, prior to the start of the PGA TOUR’s Dean & DeLuca Invitational. The Ben Hogan Trophy was first issued in 1990 at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles and included academic achievement in its original list of standards. In 2002, the Ben Hogan Award began honoring the outstanding amateur collegiate golfer at Colonial Country Club. Winners of the Ben Hogan Award 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), Nick Taylor (Washington, 2010), Peter Uihlein (Oklahoma State, 2011), Patrick Cantlay (UCLA, 2012), Chris Williams (Washington, 2013), Patrick Rodgers (Stanford, 2014) and Jon Rahm (Arizona State, 2015 and 2016). Some of the notable semifinalists over the years include: Jonas Blixt (Florida State), Bud Cauley (Alabama), Kevin Chappell (UCLA), Bryson Dechambeau (SMU), Harris English (Georgia), Brian Harman (Georgia), Russell Henley (Georgia), Beau Hossler (Texas), Dustin Johnson (Coastal Carolina), Michael Kim (California), Scott Langley (Illinois), Spencer Levin (New Mexico), Cheng-Tsung Pan (Washington), Ollie Schneiderjans (Georgia Tech), Webb Simpson (Wake Forest), Jordan Spieth (Texas), Justin Thomas (Alabama), Michael Thompson (Alabama), Camilo Villegas (Florida) and Nick Watney (Fresno State). For more information on the Ben Hogan Award, visit TheBenHoganAward.org and follow @BenHoganAward on Twitter. Semifinalist Notes • The Ben Hogan Award semifinalist group includes four seniors, four juniors and two sophomores. • Four conferences are represented on the semifinalist list, led by the Pac-12 with five players. The other leagues include the SEC (2), Big Ten (2) and ACC (1). • The Pac-12 has had the most semifinalists of any league in five of the last six years (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017). • With the inclusion of Nick Hardy and Dylan Meyer, Illinois has multiple honorees. The Illini are the first team with two semifinalists since 2014, when both Stanford (Patrick Rodgers and Cameron Wilson) and Alabama (Robby Shelton and Bobby Wyatt) had two apiece. • This is the eighth straight year that Stanford has a semifinalist, which is the longest active streak by any school. Arizona State (3), Illinois (2) and Oregon (2) also have active streaks. • Three universities with 2017 semifinalists are home to previous Ben Hogan Award winners. The schools include: Arizona State (Jon Rahm), Stanford (Patrick Rodgers) and Wake Forest (Bill Haas). • Sam Burns is the first semifinalist in LSU history. Semifinalists Sam Burns, LSU, So., Shreveport, La. Wyndham Clark, Oregon, Sr., Denver, Colo. Sean Crocker, Southern California, Jr., Westlake, Calif. Jared du Toit, Arizona State, Sr., Kimberley, British Columbia Nick Hardy, Illinois, Jr., Northbrook, Ill. Maverick McNealy, Stanford, Sr., Portola Valley, Calif. Dylan Meyer, Illinois, Jr., Evansville, Ind. Collin Morikawa, California, So., La Canada Flintridge, Calif. Matthias Schwab, Vanderbilt, Sr., Rohrmoos, Austria Will Zalatoris, Wake Forest, Jr., Plano, Texas About Konica Minolta Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. is reshaping and revolutionizing the Workplace of the Future™ (www.reshapework.com). With our comprehensive portfolio, we deliver solutions to leverage mobility, cloud services, and optimize business processes with workflow automation. Our All Covered IT Services division offers a range of IT strategy, support, and network security solutions across all verticals. Konica Minolta has been recognized as the #1 Brand for Customer Loyalty in the MFP Office Copier Market by Brand Keys for ten consecutive years and is proud to be ranked on the Forbes 2016 America’s Best Employers list. Konica Minolta, Inc. has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for five years in a row. We partner with our customers to give shape to ideas and work to bring value to our society. For more information, please visit www.CountOnKonicaMinolta.com and follow Konica Minolta on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter @KonicaMinoltaUS.
Pierce Recipient of David Toms Overcoming Adversity Award presented by the AJGA
LAS VEGAS – Brandon Pierce, a senior at LSU, has been named recipient of the David Toms Overcoming Adversity Award presented by the AJGA. Pierce twice overcame injury to be one of the nation’s elite college golfers. Pierce struggled to break the Tigers lineup his freshman year in the fall of 2013, only playing twice while balancing his studies in the engineering department. After missing out in qualifying for the first two events in the spring he was selected to play as an individual in the team’s third event. During the tournament’s final round Pierce struck a tree root. While he felt pain from the impact, he finished the round. Pierce continued to practice for the next few weeks, even though on one occassion he collapsed due to the injury. After medication and cortisone shots could not help with the pain, Pierce and LSU consulted a doctor. The doctor informed Pierce that he had fractured his lower back. Recovery time would be six-to-nine months. Fortunately, surgery was not needed, allowing the bone to heal stronger than it was before. Pierce continued to support the team and help his teammates reach their potential during his recovery. Personally, he was consulting a sports psychologist. He also worked on his physical strength to come back at 100-percent. His work paid off when Pierce qualified for the first tournament of the 2015 spring season. He finished in the top 10 in that event and went on to have one of the best seasons in LSU history. In eight tournaments played, Pierce posted a 71.16 scoring average, eclipsing David Toms 26-year-old school record. Additionally, he helped lead the Tigers to the 2015 NCAA Championship with an unbeaten record in match play. Pierce earned PING Honorable Mention All-America honors and was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. Soon after experiencing the high of the Tigers winning the NCAA Championship, Pierce experienced the most difficult moment of his life after fracturing multiple vertebrae in his neck and ligamentous tears in a swimming accident. He required surgery the next day as his neck was unstable. Doctors told Pierce he was fortunate that he was not paralyzed. Before the surgery they outlined the risks, including that Pierce may not walk or play golf again. Following the procedure the surgeon informed Pierce that it was the best neck surgery he had performed. Even with the surgery’s success, Pierce faced difficult recovery and rehabilitation. He would spend months in a restrictive neck brace which limited him to laying in bed or sitting in a chair. Unlike the recovery from his previous back injury Pierce was uncertain and timid about practicing golf. Pierce also suffered an emotional toll. Despite his positive recovery, Pierce has serious doubts about himself, his game and how one mistake could have so negatively impacted himself and those around him. He had difficutly sleeping and experienced depression. With the support of his family and coaches, Pierce received help in his battle with depression. He attended weekly counseling sessions with a sports psychologists. Through their combined support he began to believe in himself and found playing golf fun again. Pierce was able to compete in a few events in the fall of 2015 and the entire spring 2016 schedule. He helped LSU reach match play at the NCAA Championships for the third-straight season and again was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. This past summer Pierce advanced to the Round of 32 at the U.S. Amateur. He won his first collegiate event, The David Toms Intercollegiate, this fall. “I’m very honored to have even been considered for the David Toms Award,” said Pierce. “Looking back at the past recipients I wasn’t even sure I should have been in the same category. I was surprised and shocked that I had won this prestigious award and couldn’t be any more grateful. I want to thank everyone who supported me and helped me through my recoveries, they are the ones who deserve praise.” About the American Junior Golf Association:
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls, ages 12-18) of more than 6,300 members from 48 states and more than 50 foreign countries. Through initiatives like the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial assistance program, and Leadership Links, a service-oriented platform that teaches juniors charitable-giving skills, the AJGA fosters the growth of golf’s next generation. AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 600 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Jordan Spieth, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Stacy Lewis, Vicky Hurst, Inbee Park, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome and Morgan Pressel.
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Arnold Palmer Cup Teams

Team USA

 

Team Europe

 The Teams
Rank   Name   School       Rank   Name   School    
1.    Sam Burns    LSU        1.    Harry Ellis    Florida State    
2.    John Coultas    Florida Southern       2.    Rory Franssen    Missouri     
3.    Sean Crocker    Southern California       3.    Stuart Grehan    Maynooth     
4.    Doug Ghim    Texas       4.    Harry Hall    UNLV    
5.    Nick Hardy    Illinois       5.    Viktor Hovland    Oklahoma  State     
6.    Maverick McNealy    Stanford       6.    Richard Mansell    Nova  Southeastern     
7.    Collin Morikawa    California       7.    Fredrik Nilehn    Texas Tech     
8.    Chandler Phillips    Texas A&M       8.    Hannes  Ronneblad    Texas Tech     
9.    Jimmy Stanger    Virginia       9.    Kristoffer  Ventura    Oklahoma  State    
10.    Norman Xiong    Oregon       10.    David Wicks    Jacksonville    
 
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