Three finalists remain for the 2015 Ben Hogan Award, given to the nation’s top college golfer. But one thing became certain Wednesday: the recipient plays for a Pac-12 school.
For the first time in award history, all three finalists headed to Fort Worth for the May 18 announcement will hail from the same conference. The list includes Stanford’s Maverick McNealy, Washington’s Cheng-Tsung Pan and Arizona State’s Jon Rahm.
The finalists were announced Wednesday, based on votes by members of the award’s selection committee.
The recipient, announced during a black-tie dinner as part of tournament week activities at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, will receive the Hogan Award as well as an invitation to compete in the 2016 Colonial tournament.
He also will earn a $25,000 grant for the men’s golf scholarship program at his school. Finalists who do not receive the award will trigger grants of $12,500 for their respective schools.
Although the finalists compete in the same conference, they were born on three different continents.
McNealy, the top-ranked college player in the Golfstat and Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, is from Portola Valley, Calif. Pan, the only four-time semifinalist in Hogan Award history, was born in Taiwan and owns the Washington school record for tournament victories (7). Rahm, a Spaniard, tops the World Amateur Golf Rankings as well as the Scratch Players World Rankings.
Candidates for the Hogan Award are judged by their performance over the past 12 months in college and other events.
Rahm, a native of Barrika, Spain, made headlines in February by tying for fifth while competing as an amateur at the Phoenix Open. He became the first amateur to crack the top-5 in a PGA Tour event since 2008 and has won three college events this season.
But he ranks second in both sets of college golf rankings to McNealy, who was selected as the 2015 Pac-12 Player of the Year. Among McNealy’s five college titles this season is last week’s 10-stroke victory at the Pac-12 Conference Championship, where his 18-under total (262) established a tournament scoring record.
For the first time in award history, the seven semifinalists who did not emerge as finalists triggered $2,000 grants to their college golf programs.
Those semifinalists included Texas’ Beau Hossler, Baylor’s Kyle Jones, New Mexico’s Gavin Green, Georgia’s Lee McCoy, Alabama’s Robby Shelton, Georgia Tech’s Ollie Schniederjans and Vanderbilt’s Hunter Stewart.
Among the Hogan Award winners crowned in Fort Worth, six have committed to compete in this year’s Colonial: Hunter Mahan (2003), Bill Haas (2004), Matt Every (2006), Chris Kirk (2007), Nick Taylor (2010) and Patrick Rodgers (2014).
Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760