Two juniors, one senior named The Ben Hogan Award finalists
FORT WORTH, Texas (May 7, 2014) – Colonial Country Club, Friends of Golf (FOG) and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) are pleased to announce that the three finalists for the 2014 The Ben Hogan Award are, in alphabetical order, Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers, Georgia Tech’s Ollie Schniederjans and Stanford’s Cameron Wilson.
Rodgers and Wilson are just the second teammates ever named finalists together, while Schniederjans is the first finalist in his school’s history. All three players rank among the top 10 in each of the four ranking systems–the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking, Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings and Golfstat Rankings.
All three finalists will attend a black-tie banquet at Colonial Country Club on Sunday, May 18, 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 8 p.m. (CT). The keynote speaker is noted golf course designer and architect Bruce Devlin, an eight-time PGA TOUR winner and 1966 Colonial National Invitation champion.
Rodgers is a finalist for the second time in his collegiate career, having previously received an invitation to Colonial as a freshman in 2012. The native of Avon, Ind., is the world’s top-ranked amateur golfer according to both the World Amateur Golf Ranking as well as the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking.
Heading into the NCAA Regional, Rodgers has five collegiate victories to his credit in 2014 to pull within one of Tiger Woods’ all-time Stanford record for career wins (11). In his last five events, Rodgers has four wins and a runner-up finish. His victories came at the Erin Hills Invitational, The Goodwin, Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters, Prestige at PGA West and Pac-12 Championships. Rodgers, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, is currently ranked second in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings and third according to Golfstat. In 10 tournaments this year, he boasts eight top-10 finishes and a stroke average of 69.55.
On the amateur circuit, he was a member of the winning United States Walker Cup and Palmer Cup teams in 2013 and finished with a 5-1-2 record. Last summer, he was the medalist at the Western Amateur and reached the round of 16 in match play at both the Western Amateur and the United States Amateur. In addition, he tied for 15th place at the PGA TOUR’s John Deere Classic last July.
Schniederjans is tied for the NCAA Division I lead in victories in 2013-14 with five, establishing a new Georgia Tech record for individual season wins in the process. His victories include an active three-tournament winning streak with triumphs at the Valspar Invitational, Robert Kepler Invitational and Atlantic Coast Conference Championships. The native of Powder Springs, Ga., is currently ranked third in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings and fourth according to Golfstat.
In the fall, the junior won a pair of prestigious college events, the Carpet Capital Collegiate and the United States Collegiate Championship. In all, he has eight top-10 finishes in 11 events and carries a season stroke average of 69.73, helping the Yellow Jackets to a top-5 national ranking. He was named the Southern Golf Association’s National Amateur of the Month as well as the ACC Golfer of the Month in April. Schniederjans placed 12th at the Western Refining All-America Classic last November.
Schniederjans, who is currently ranked fourth in the WAGR and ninth according to Scratch Players, was selected to the United States’ 2014 Palmer Cup team as an automatic qualifier. Last June, he was the runner-up at the Dogwood Invitational. He also finished among the top 10 at the Southern Amateur, Northeast Amateur and the Players Amateur Championship.
Wilson, who hails from Rowayton, Conn., is ranked second in the Golfstat rankings and fifth by Golfweek/Sagarin. He corralled his first two career college wins this year, opening the season with a victory at the Illini Invitational at Olympia Fields and then taking medalist honors at the Western Intercollegiate this spring. For the year, he placed among the top 15 in all 10 events, with six of those finishes inside the top five.
The first-team All-Pac-12 selection has carded a season average of 69.81 and helped lead Stanford to its first conference title in two decades and a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA West Regional in Eugene, Ore. He was a finalist for the Byron Nelson Award, given to a graduating senior based upon golf and academic achievements as well as character. In addition, he finished first in the Palmer Cup rankings and will represent the United States in June at Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, England.
In the world’s amateur rankings, Wilson is listed sixth according to the WAGR and fourth in Scratch Players. Earlier this year, he placed fourth at the Australian Master of the Amateurs, while last summer he won the Metropolitan Golf Association’s Ike Championship. He also placed fifth at the Sunnehanna Amateur, tied for 12th at the Porter Cup and shared 34th at the Western Amateur.
The 2014 The Ben Hogan Award recipient will receive an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s 2015 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, as well as earn a grant for its men’s golf scholarship program. Last year, the winner’s university received a $25,000 gift, while the other finalists’ schools each received grants of $12,500.
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 24 leaders and experts in amateur, college and professional golf. In order to determine the finalists, each committee member cast a ballot that ranked the group of 10 semifinalists from 1-10.
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 and moved the award to Colonial Country Club. 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), Nick Taylor (Washington, 2010), Peter Uihlein (Oklahoma State, 2011), Patrick Cantlay (UCLA, 2012) and Chris Williams (Washington, 2013).
Since the committee began inviting all three finalists to Colonial Country Club in 2005, PGA TOUR winners among those finalists include Every, Fowler, Russell Henley, Kirk, Moore, Jordan Spieth and Stanley.
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.
Notes About the Finalists
•Regardless of who is named the winner of the award, he will become the first-ever recipient from his school.
•All three finalists are ranked among the top 10 in all four major ranking systems: the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking, Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings and Golfstat Rankings.
•For the third time in the last four years, all three finalists were born in the United States.
•Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers and Cameron Wilson are just the second teammates ever to be named finalists in the same year, joining Peter Uihlein and Kevin Tway of Oklahoma State in 2011.
•Patrick Rodgers is the fourth player ever to earn two trips to Fort Worth as a finalist, joining Georgia’s Chris Kirk (2006, 2007), Oklahoma State’s Rickie Fowler (2008, 2009) and UCLA’s Patrick Cantlay (2011, 2012).
•Ollie Schniederjans is the first finalist to play collegiate golf east of the Mississippi River since Alabama’s Bud Cauley and Georgia’s Russell Henley in 2010.
•Ollie Schniederjans is the first finalist ever from Georgia Tech.
•The Pac-12 Conference has now had at least one finalist for five consecutive seasons and six times in the last seven years (2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014).
•The Pac-12 has two nominees for the third straight year, meaning that one conference has boasted multiple finalists five consecutive years (SEC, 2010; Big 12, 2011; Pac-12, 2012; Pac-12, 2013; Pac-12 2014).
•The last finalist to hail from the Atlantic Coast Conference was Clemson’s Kyle Stanley, who won the award in 2009.