It wasn’t that long ago that everyone was talking about the challenging of Canada’s young golfers. Now Canadian amateurs have won both of the top US college awards this year, and took one of the top two prizes last year as well.
Yesterday Eugene Wong was named as the Nicklaus Award winner, as voted on by NCAA golf coaches. Nick Taylor has already been awarded the Ben Hogan award as voted on by his peers. Add recently turned pro Matt Hill, who won the Nicklaus award last year, and you’ve got a strong contingent of young golfers coming from Canada.
Wong joins some impressive company in winning the award.
Phil Mickelson won the award three times for Arizona State, and the other winners read like a who’s who of the PGA Tour: Tiger Woods (Stanford, 1996), David Duval (Georgia Tech, 1993), Stewart Cink (Georgia Tech, 1995), Luke Donald (Northwestern, 1999), Charles Howell III (Oklahoma State, 2000) and Hunter Mahan (Oklahoma State, 2003).
Wong earned medalist honors at two tournaments this season, the USC Intercollegiate and the Western Intercollegiate, was runner-up at the Pacific Invitational and the Oregon Duck Invitational at Eugene Country Club and finished third at the Fresno State Golf Classic and the ASU Thunderbird Invitational. He had three other top-10 finishes.
Other Nicklaus Award winners included Brett Munson of North Alabama at the Division II level, Tain Lee of Claremont McKenna at Division III, Justin Lower of Malone at NAIA and Abraham Ancer of Odessa College at the junior college level.