Texas freshman Jordan Spieth joins UCLA sophomore Patrick Cantlay and Stanford freshman Patrick Rodgers among a precedent-setting group of finalists for the 2012 Ben Hogan Award, given to the nation’s top player in college golf.
The three finalists, announced today, mark the youngest collection of finalists in award history. Only one freshman, 2008 recipient Rickie Fowler, has ever won the Hogan Award and no sophomore has been chosen by members of the selection committee.
But youth will be served May 21 in Fort Worth, with the winner announced at a live awards ceremony that is part of tournament week activities at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Cantlay, the low amateur at the 2012 Masters and runner-up at the 2011 U.S. Amateur, was a Hogan Award finalist last year. The top-ranked golfer in both the World Amateur Golf Rankings and the Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings, Cantlay also earned low amateur honors at the 2011 U.S. Open, were he finished 21st.
Members of the Hogan Award selection committee vote on candidates based on their performances over the past 12 months in both college and amateur events. During the 2012 college season, Cantlay earned All-Pac-12 honors with two runner-up efforts among his four top-10 finishes.
Both Spieth and Rodgers, who played high school golf last year, have won college tournaments this season. Spieth, a Dallas native, earned 2012 Big 12 Player of the Year honors as a freshman and is the nation’s top-ranked golfer in the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings and the Golfstat rankings.
Spieth, who made the cut while competing as a high school player at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in 2010 and 2011, has won three tournaments and cracked the top six on five other occasions during his initial season at Texas. In April, he finished 41st at the PGA Tour’s Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.
Rodgers, the 2012 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, earned all-conference honors while winning two college events and posting eight top-10 finishes at Stanford. A native of Avon, Ind., he represented the U.S. at the 2011 Walker Cup, reached the round of 16 at the 2011 U.S. Amateur and will play on the 2012 U.S. Palmer Cup team.
Among the 10 semifinalists for the Hogan Award who did not advance as finalists were TCU’s Julien Brun and Texas’ Dylan Frittelli.
_ Jimmy Burch