Stanford’s McNealy, Washington’s Pan and Arizona State’s Rahm selected
FORT WORTH, Texas (May 6, 2015) – Colonial Country Club, Friends of Golf (FOG) and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) have announced that Stanford sophomore Maverick McNealy, Washington senior Cheng-Tsung Pan and Arizona State junior Jon Rahm are the 2015 finalists for The Ben Hogan Award. It is the first time in the award’s history that all three finalists represent one conference.
The three Pac-12 Conference student-athletes will attend a black-tie banquet at Colonial Country Club on Monday, 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 on TheBenHoganAward.org beginning at 8 p.m. (CT).
All three are first-time finalists. In addition, for the first time, the three finalists were all born on different continents–McNealy (North America), Pan (Asia) and Rahm (Europe).
McNealy is the nation’s top-ranked college player in both the Golfstat Rankings and the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. He leads NCAA Division I with five collegiate victories this year, capped by a dominant 10-stroke win at the Pac-12 Conference Championships last week. His 18-under score of 262 established a new league tournament scoring record.
The 2015 Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year previously claimed medalist honors at the Southwestern Intercollegiate, Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational, The Prestige at PGA West and The Goodwin. A three-time Pac-12 Golfer of the Month, he has been selected to compete this summer on the United States Palmer Cup team.
The native of Portolo Valley, Calif., is listed third in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and 34th in the Scratch Players World Rankings. Last summer, he qualified to compete at both the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur. Among his top finishes, he tied for ninth at the 2014 Players Amateur. He is the third different Stanford finalist for the award dating back to last year, joining reigning winner Patrick Rodgers and Cameron Wilson.
This year, Pan became the first-ever four-time semifinalist for The Ben Hogan Award. His three college wins in 2014-15 gave him seven career titles, breaking the school’s career win record previously held by 2013 award recipient Chris Williams. Pan’s victories came at the Waikoloa Intercollegiate, Querencia Cabo Collegiate and Lamkin San Diego Classic. In all, he posted seven top-10 finishes and a 70.06 stroke average in 10 events.
Pan is one of five players ranked among the top 10 in the Golfstat Rankings (4th), Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings (5th), Scratch Players World Rankings (6th) and World Amateur Golf Rankings (10th). He could become the third Husky to win the award in the past six years, joining Williams and Nick Taylor (2010).
A native of Miaoli County, Taiwan, Pan earned two gold medals, one individual and one team, at the Asian Games in Korea last summer. He also tied for fifth at the Asia-Pacific Amateur last October. Additionally, Pan qualified to play in the 2014 British Open, advanced to the round of 32 at last year’s U.S. Amateur and reached the round of 16 at the 2014 Western Amateur.
Rahm, the first finalist in Arizona State history, is the No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Rankings as well as the Scratch Players World Rankings. Meanwhile, he is listed second in both the Golfstat Rankings and Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. He is the only player in the world listed among the top five in each of the four ranking systems.
The native of Barrika, Spain, has earned a second straight spot on the European Palmer Cup roster. He helped lead his side to victory last summer with a team-best 3.5-point performance. In addition, he won the 2014 Eisenhower Trophy given to the medalist of the World Team Amateur and broke Jack Nicklaus’ scoring record by six shots. Last summer, he also won the Spanish Amateur Championship and reached the U.S. Amateur’s round of 16.
In February, Rahm tied for fifth at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, becoming the first amateur to place in the top five at a PGA TOUR event since 2008. He has won three college tournaments in 2014-15–the Duck Invitational, ASU Thunderbird and Bill Cullum Invite. The junior has nine consecutive top-8 finishes at college events and owns a 68.79 stroke average.
The 2015 Ben Hogan Award recipient will receive an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s 2016 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, as well as earn a $25,000 grant for its men’s golf scholarship program. The other two finalists’ schools each will receive grants of $12,500.
Additionally, for the first time, the other seven semifinalists’ schools will receive grants of $2,000 each. The remaining semifinalists were: Gavin Green (New Mexico), Beau Hossler (Texas), Kyle Jones (Baylor), Lee McCoy (Georgia), Robby Shelton (Alabama), Ollie Schniederjans (Georgia Tech) and Hunter Stewart (Vanderbilt). In all, a record $64,000 in grants will be distributed.
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 25 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 include: 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) and Patrick Rodgers (Stanford, 2014).
Since the committee began inviting all three finalists to Colonial Country Club in 2005, notable finalists include PGA TOUR winners Russell Henley, Michael Thompson and Jordan Spieth.
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
- This is the first time that all three finalists play golf in the same conference (Pacific-12 Conference).
- The Pac-12 Conference will have the winner of The Ben Hogan Award for the fourth consecutive year, joining UCLA’s Patrick Cantlay in 2012, Washington’s Chris Williams in 2013 and Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers in 2014.
- The Pac-12 Conference has now had at least one finalist for six consecutive seasons and seven times in the last eight years (2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015).
- Two of the three schools have had previous winners of the award, and all have come in the past six years. For Washington, Nick Taylor was the recipient in 2010 and Chris Williams won in 2013. Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers grabbed the honor in 2014.
- All three are finalists for the first time, and both Maverick McNealy and Jon Rahm were first-time semifinalists. Pan is the first-ever player to have been a four-time semifinalist.
- The Pac-12 has had at least two nominees four straight years, and has boasted nine of the past 12 finalists dating back to 2012.
- The three finalists were all born on different continents: North America (Maverick McNealy-USA), Asia (Cheng-Tsung Pan-Taiwan) and Europe (Jon Rahm-Spain).
- Either Cheng-Tsung Pan or Jon Rahm would become just the second foreign-born winner of the award, joining Canadian Nick Taylor (2010).
- Washington could match Oklahoma State (Hunter Mahan, 2003; Rickie Fowler, 2008; Peter Uihlein, 2011) for the most winners of The Ben Hogan Award since the adoption of the current criteria in 2002.
- Stanford could join Oklahoma State (3), Washington (2) and Clemson (2) as schools with multiple winners since 2002.
- Jon Rahm is the third Spaniard to ever be named as a finalist, joining Pablo Martin (2007) and Jorge Campillo (2009).