Guthrie, Pieters Named to Ben Hogan Award Watch List
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
2012 The Ben Hogan Award Watch List