Senior Luke Guthrie was a first-team All-American in 2011 and led the Illini in stroke average during the fall season.
Feb. 8, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas - Senior Luke Guthrie and sophomore Thomas Pieters were named to the 2012 Ben Hogan Award Watch List, announced by Baird Private Wealth Management, in association with Colonial Country Club, The Friends of Golf (FOG) and the Golf Coaches Association of America. The duo were among 28 collegiate golfers recognized for the honor, which is the most prestigious award in men's college golf presented annually to the top men's NCAA Division I, II or III, NAIA or NJCAA college golfer.
"This is the national player of the year award, so to have two guys on the list, which are also the only two in the Big Ten, really shows the class that Luke and Thomas are in," head coach Mike Small said. "The recognition speaks to the individual talents on our team, and we are proud of those guys for the work they put in. It is only a watch list, so the rest of the spring has a lot to determine that, but we are excited to see what they can do after having great fall seasons."
The Illini, who boast the only two Big Ten players on the list, are one of six schools with two nominees along with Alabama, Oregon, Stanford, Texas and Washington. Guthrie, a 2011 PING First-Team All-American, is one of 11 seniors on the list and showed his best golf is yet to come during the fall season. The Quincy, Ill., native played all three rounds under-par for the first time in his career and carded a career-best 10-under (203) to lead Illinois to the team title at the D.A. Weibring Invitational. Guthrie was named Big Ten Golfer of the Week following his fifth career individual title.
"This is an awesome honor," Guthrie said. "It's just a watch list, so I have a lot of work to do to receive the award, but it is great just to be considered for it. Hopefully, both Thomas and I can put together a good spring, so that an Illini can win it."
While Guthrie placed in the top-15 at all four tournaments and led the Illini during the fall season with a stroke average of 71.00, he was followed closely behind by Pieters, who turned in three top-10 finishes and was second on the squad with an average of 71.83. The Nijlen, Belgium, native is poised for a breakout year after capping off the fall by winning his first career title at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational with a career-best 54-hole score (209), which earned him Big Ten Golfer of the Week honors. He is one of only three sophomores to make the list.
"It is really great to get that recognition," Pieters said. "I hope I can make a good run this season to get it and help the team out. It's nice that people think I am playing well enough to be in the running for the honor."
A list of 10 semifinalists will be unveiled on Wednesday, April 11, and then will be pared down to three finalists on Thursday, May 10. The winner will be crowned at a banquet at Colonial Country Club on Monday, May 21, prior to the start of the PGA TOUR's Crowne Plaza Invitational. The award, which was first issued in 1990 and also 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.
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) and Peter Uihlein (Oklahoma State, 2011).
Each of the first nine listed above is currently playing full time on the PGA TOUR. Over the last 10 PGA TOUR tournaments, former Hogan Award winners have recorded three victories and two runner-up finishes. To find the latest information on The Ben Hogan Award, its candidates and its previous winners, visit www.Facebook.com/BenHoganAward and @BenHoganAward on Twitter.
About the Candidates
The Ben Hogan Award Watch List includes 11 seniors, nine juniors, three sophomores and five freshmen.
The list includes the top 13 players in the latest Golfweek individual rankings and 19 of the top 25. It also features the top 3, 7 of the top 10 and 14 of the top 25 players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. Finally, it boasts 3 of the top 5, 6 of the top 10 and 16 of the top 30 in the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking.
A total of 22 universities are represented. Six schools (Alabama, Illinois, Oregon, Stanford, Texas and Washington) have two nominees.
With seven, the Pac-12 has the most nominees among any conference. The other conferences with multiple student-athletes on the Watch List include: SEC (6), ACC (3), Big 12 (3), Big 10 (2) and MWC (2).
The 28 players hail from 14 different states and seven foreign countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, South Africa and Taiwan). The states represented include: California (4), Florida (4), Texas (2), Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and Utah.
The list includes four 2011 PING First-Team All-Americans (Patrick Cantlay, Luke Guthrie, James White and Andrew Yun), three Second-Team All-Americans (Blayne Barber, Cory Whitsett and Chris Williams) and one Third-Team All-American (Dylan Frittelli).
UCLA's Patrick Cantlay was one of the three The Ben Hogan Award finalists in 2011.
Chico State's Kyle Souza is the lone non-Division I golfer on the list. He won the NCAA Division II national championship in 2011.
2012 The Ben Hogan Award Watch List
Blayne Barber (Auburn, Jr.)
Zac Blair (BYU, Jr.)
Julien Brun (TCU, Fr.)
Patrick Cantlay (UCLA, So.)
Sean Dale (North Florida, Jr.)
Derek Ernst (UNLV, Sr.)
Dylan Frittelli (Texas, Sr.)
Luke Guthrie (Illinois, Sr.)
Stephan Jaeger (Chattanooga, Sr.)
Brooks Koepka (Florida State, Sr.)
Jace Long (Missouri, Jr.)
Bryden Macpherson (Georgia, Jr.)
Daniel Miernicki (Oregon, Sr.)
Corbin Mills (Clemson, Jr.)
Cheng-Tsung Pan (Washington, Fr.)
Thomas Pieters (Illinois, So.)
Patrick Rodgers (Stanford, Fr.)
Kyle Souza (Chico State, Sr.)
Jordan Spieth (Texas, Fr.)
Justin Thomas (Alabama, Fr.)
Ethan Tracy (Arkansas, Sr.)
Harold Varner (East Carolina, Sr.)
T.J. Vogel (Florida, Jr.)
James White (Georgia Tech, Sr.)
Cory Whitsett (Alabama, So.)
Chris Williams (Washington, Jr.)
Eugene Wong (Oregon, Sr.)
Andrew Yun (Stanford, Jr.)