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.
• 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.
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.
West Chester’s Hammond Recipient of Labron Harris Sr. Award
NORMAN, Okla. – Harry Hammond, Head Men’s Golf Coach at West Chester and a member of the Philadelphia PGA Section, has been named winner of the Labron Harris Sr. Award presented by the Golf Coaches Association of America in cooperation with The PGA of America. The Harris Award is presented to the college or high school coach and PGA Professional whose support of the game through teaching, coaching and involvement in the community has helped ensure the continued growth of the game of golf and who represents the finest qualities the game has to offer.
“To be selected by my fellow coaches for the Labron Harris Sr. Award is an honor that I hold as one of the most important awards that I have ever received,” said Hammond. “Mr. Harris set some very high standards as a PGA member, university coach and contributor to his community that I continue to strive to achieve in my profession everyday.”
A 53-year member of the PGA of America, Hammond took the coaching reins at West Chester in 2007. He was recognized as Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2015. Hammond has guided the Golden Rams to five straight NCAA Regional appearances. In 2015, his charges claimed both the PSAC’s conference championship and its top team GPA award. Since 2012 Hammond and West Chester have hosted the Dr. Edwin Cottrell Invitational, honoring the GCAA Hall of Fame Member. Additionally, Penn Oaks Golf Club, where Hammond serves as Director of Golf and part of the facilities ownership group, serves as the home course for West Chester’s men’s and women’s golf teams.
Hammond’s career in golf began in 1953 when he became a caddy at Kennett Square Golf & Country Club. Through caddying he paid for his tuition at Penn State before being hired full-time by the PGA professional at Kennett Square.
In 1963, Hammond accepted his first head golf professional position at West Chester Golf & Country Club, serving for six years. He moved to Whitford Country Club in 1969 where he remained for 38 years until he retired in 2007. In 2005, Hammond became an owner/partner at Penn Oaks Golf Club.
During his tenure at Whitford, the club’s junior program grew to 150 participats. Hammond also initiated a community youth teaching program in the Phoenixville, Pa., area. The program grew to two hundred juniors and due to its size led to the creation of an additional program in Thorndale, Pa.
Hammond has served the Philadelphia Section as an officer, committee chair and member of various section committees. He currently serves as president of the Philadelphia Section Junior Golf Foundation and member of the junior golf committee. Additionally, Hammond served on several PGA of America national committees and currently serves as an advisory board member for PGA Magazine. One of the highlights of his career was being invited to teach in 2011 and ‘12 at the PGA Ryder Cup Junior Golf Academy held in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Elected a PGA Master Professional in 1992, Hammond was selected as PGA of America Junior Golf Leader in 1999 and recipient of the Bill Strausbaugh Award in 2012. Hammond was elected to the Philadelphia Section Hall of Fame in 2001. He was named the Sections Merchandiser of the Year three times, Golf Professional of the Year in 1991, Junior Golf Leader four times and Bill Strausbaugh Award twice.
As a teacher, Hammond has introduced the game to hundreds of young golfers. Many of these juniors went on to successful college golf careers. Four times he has been named a U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Teacher and was recognized as U.S. Kids Master Teacher in 2012.
Hammond has also used golf to support local charities. While at Whitford Country Club, he initiated a pro-am tournament that benefited The First Tee of Chester County. For the last several years the pro-am has supported the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Chester County. Hammond has also supported the Chester County YMCA, The Arc of Chester County, Chester County Food Bank and United Way of Chester County.
Hammond has been married to his wife Sally for 45 years. His daughter Laura played for Penn State and currently serves as executive director of the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia.
Hammond follows in the footsteps of past Labron Harris Award recipients Jay Hardwick (Virginia Tech/Middle Atlantic PGA Section), Devon Brouse (Purdue/Indiana PGA Section), the late Rod Myers (Duke/Carolina PGA Section), Herb Page (Kent State/Northern Ohio PGA Section), Jim Brown (Ohio State/Southern Ohio PGA Section), Pat Owen (U.S. Naval Academy/Middle Atlantic PGA Section), Rick Pohle (Williams College/ Northeastern New York PGA Section), John Bermel (Northern Iowa/Iowa PGA Section), Pat Goss (Northwestern/Illinois PGA Section), Mike Small (Illinois/Illinois PGA Section), Mike Mayer (Indiana/Indiana PGA Section) and Puggy Blackmon (South Carolina/Carolinas PGA Section).