2021 Jack Nicklaus Award Finalists Named
Norman, Okla.— The Golf Coaches Association of America has announced its finalists for the 2021 Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award presented by True Spec Golf. Recipients of the award will be announced during The Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, scheduled June 3-6.
“When you look at the list of finalists for this year's Jack Nicklaus Award, each and every one of them has put together an impressive collegiate resume," Mr. Nicklaus said in a statement. "I actually had a chance to meet several of the finalists at the recent Walker Cup, and they are not only very talented golfers, but quality young men. It's yet another example that our game's future is in good hands. I wish all the finalists the best of luck.”
Division I Finalists
Pierceson Coody of Texas, Noah Goodwin of Southern Methodist, John Pak of Florida State, Ryan Hall of South Carolina, and Georgia’s Davis Thompson are the finalists for Division I.
- Coody, the top ranked American in WAGR (No. 2) tallied one medalist win on the 2020-21 season at the George Hannon Collegiate. The Plano, Texas, native tallied top ten finishes in eight of 11 events played.
- Goodwin, a native of Corinth, Texas, boasts a 69.57 stroke average with five top five finishes in seven events played. Of his 21 tournament rounds, 18 of them were under par.
- Hall, a first team All-SEC player this season, has two wins on the year, including a win at the NCAA Division I Albuquerque regional. Keeping 21 of his 27 rounds under par, Hall’s 69.81 leads the Gamecocks by nearly three full shots.
- Named the ACC Player of the Year, Pak currently owns the Florida State career scoring average with 69.89. His season average of 69.78 has earned him top 10 finishes in eight of nine events played this season, including a win at The Calusa Cup.
- Thompson, the SEC Player of the Year, won twice in 2021. Currently ranked No. 2 in the PGA Tour University rankings, Thompson leads not just the Bulldogs, but the entire SEC with a 69.48 scoring average.
Division II Finalists
Division II finalists are made up of Washburn’s Andrew Beckler, Lincoln Memorial’s Dan Bradbury, Indianapolis’ Keegan Bronnenberg, Oklahoma Christian’s Trevor Norby, and West Florida’s Alejandro Restrepo.
- Beckler currently holds the all-time scoring average record at Washburn, aided by a 2020-21 scoring average of 70.40. He earned medalist honors in three events while sharing medalist honors once. He never finished worse than third in 10 events.
- Bradbury, an Englishman from Yorkshire, holds a 69.50 season stroke average. In 26 rounds played this season he finished the year two under par, picking up three wins in nine events.
- An All-Great Lakes Valley Conference selection, Bronnenberg had two wins on the season and finished no worse than T-15 in 11 events played. The Muncie, Indiana, native capped off the year by being crowned the individual Division II Champion.
- Norby carried a 71.18 stroke average, with 20 of 28 rounds coming in under par. The All-Lone Star Conference selection carded seven top-five and nine top-ten finishes, including a win.
- Restrepo, a Valenzuela native, carded a 70.90 stroke average and had 14 of his 21 rounds under par. Finishing inside the top 10 in six of seven tournaments, Restrepo took home a win at the Matlock Collegiate Classic.
Division III Finalists
Finalists for the Division III award include Methodist’s Andre Chi, Webster’s Will Hocker, Carnegie Mellon’s Jason Li, Guilford’s James Mishoe, and Illinois Wesleyan’s Rob Wuethrich.
- In 20 competitive rounds, Chi held a stroke average of 73.20 and finished outside the top six just twice in seven events. Named to the USA South All-Conference team, Chi owns the program record for low round after carding a 65 at the NCAA Division III Championship.
- Hocker, from Grapevine, Texas, took home three wins on the season, including a medalist finish at the NCAA Division III National Championship. With a 72.11 scoring average, Hocker finished outside the top three twice in seven events and holds a 611-24 head-to-head record for the 2020-21 season.
- In 14 rounds played, Li tallied a 72.1 scoring average. In five events played, Li was a top 10 finisher four times, a top three finisher three times, and nabbed a win at the Golfweek DIII Spring Invite.
- Mishoe took home a pair of wins in 2020-21 and finished no worse than 11th in six events. The All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference selection and now three-time ODAC Player of the Year tallied a conference-best 70.60 scoring average and finished the season ranked No. 1 in Golfstat’s DIII player rankings.
- Wuethrich, a 2020 Nicklaus finalist, was an integral part to the Titans season, culminating in an NCAA DIII Team Championship. In 18 rounds, Wuethrich carried a 71.9 scoring average, three victories and finished inside the season with 11 top-five finishes.
The NAIA finalists are Lucas Cena of Keiser, Dawson Peters of South Carolina Beaufort, Ruan Pretorius of Point, Ben Rebne of Dalton State, and Ryan van der Klis of Point.
- Cena, a native of Santa Fe, Argentina, took home the Sun Conference Championship and Webber Fall Classic. In 13 events, Cena finished outside the top 10 just twice. In 39 rounds scored, he recorded a 72.03 average
- Peters was named to the NAIA PING All-American First Team and the NAIA All-Region South team after a senior season that included three wins, 11 finishes inside the top 15, and seven of 13 inside the top five.
- Ending the season as Golfstat’s top-ranked player in NAIA, Pretorius carried a 71.53 average and was a combined 81-2 against Golfstat’s Top 100 players. He finished the season with two wins on the year.
- In 14 rounds, Rebne earned a 72.52 scoring average with one win, seven top fives, and eight top 10 finishes. The Ringgold, Georgia native was also named to the NAIA PING All-American First Team.
- Earning co-medalist honors at the Appalachian Athletic Conference Championship and taking conference Player of the Year honors, van der Klis posted a 72.14 scoring average. He joins teammate Pretorius on the NAIA PING All-American First Team and NAIA PING Southern All-Region team.
Cecil Belisle of South Mountain, Peyton Coursey of Tyler, Harry Crockett and Ben Partridge of Hutchinson, and Sam McKenzie of Midland comprise the NJCAA finalists.
- Belisle capped off a highly decorated freshman season with medalist honors at the NJCAA Division II National Championship. Belisle also earned All-Region and First Team All-Conference honors. In addition to the medalist win at Nationals, Belisle tallied two wins in the regular season.
- In 14 rounds, Coursey held a 72.07 stroke average. In five events the freshman was .29 strokes over par and led Tyler Junior College to a NJCAA Division II South Central Championship with a medalist performance.
- Crockett helped lead Hutchinson to their first National Championship with a runner up individual performance. Crockett holds a 72.10 scoring average and shot a career best 68 at the CSU-Pueblo Invitational.
- McKenzie, ranked fifth in Golfstat, boasts a 71.83 scoring average and was a combined 81-4 against the Top 100 in Golfstat. His freshman campaign included a win at the Claude Jacobs Invitational.
- Partridge bested his teammate, and fellow finalist, Harry Crockett for the individual national title. The Englishman from London finished the year with a 71.62 scoring average and was 21-0 head-to-head against Top 25 ranked players via Golfstat.
Nicklaus, a Big Ten and NCAA Champion at The Ohio State University, helped inspire and create the Jack Nicklaus Award in 1988 and it is now presented to the National Player of the year in NCAA Divisions I, II and III, as well as NAIA and NJCAA