April 16, 2014
FORT WORTH, Texas (SMU/Ben Hogan Award) – SMU sophomore Bryson Dechambeau has been named a semifinalist for the Ben Hogan Award, the Colonial Country Club, Friends of Golf (FOG) and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) announced on Wednesday. The honor is given annually to the most outstanding collegiate amateur golfer of the year.
As of April 12, Dechambeau was the only player in the nation ranked in the top 20 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking, GolfStat, GolfWeek and Scratch Players rankings. The Clovis, Calif., native has six top-five finishes this season and has carded 15 rounds of par or better in 2013-14. Dechambeau shot a career-low 64 (minus-six) in the final round of the Gifford Collegiate at Pelican Hill, moving him to a third-place finish. Dechambeau is the only sophomore among the 10 semifinalists.
Dechambeau is SMU’s second player to be named a semifinalist for the Ben Hogan Award. Colt Knost received the same recognition in 2007, a year in which he was also named a PING All-American and later won the U.S. Amateur Championship. The most recent Mustang to be named to the Ben Hogan Award watch list was Kelly Kraft, who was chosen in 2011.
SMU head coach Josh Gregory acknowledges the importance of this achievement for Dechambeau.
“This is a tremendous honor for Bryson and our program,” Gregory said. “It’s only fitting that his idol is Ben Hogan. Bryson is very deserving of this accomplishment. Hopefully this will be the first of many awards for him in his career at SMU.”
The American Athletic Conference recognized Dechambeau with Golfer of the Week honors on March 26, after he placed fifth at the Valspar Invitational at Floridian. In a tournament with eight top-25 teams, Dechambeau recorded two rounds in the 60s to help guide SMU to a top-five team finish.
Last summer, Dechambeau advanced to the match play portion of the U.S. Amateur Championships after placing sixth during stroke play. He also took medalist honors at the 2013 Trans-Mississippi Championship. For his efforts in 2012-13, Dechambeau received Conference USA Freshman of the Year honors and was named to the PING All-Region team.
The American Athletic Conference is one of three leagues with multiple semifinalists, joining the ACC and the Pac-12. In alphabetical order, the semifinalists are: Bryson Dechambeau (SMU), Greg Eason (UCF), Joey Garber (Georgia), Brandon Hagy (California), Cheng-Tsung Pan (Washington), Patrick Rodgers (Stanford), Ollie Schniederjans (Georgia Tech), Robby Shelton (Alabama), Cameron Wilson (Stanford) and Bobby Wyatt (Alabama).
On Wednesday, May 7, the group of 10 semifinalists will be pared down to three finalists. The trio will attend a black-tie banquet at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth on Sunday, May 18, where the recipient will be announced. The winner will receive an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s 2015 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
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. 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), Peter Uihlein (Oklahoma State, 2011), Patrick Cantlay (UCLA, 2012) and Chris Williams (Washington, 2013).
Notable semifinalists over the years include: Jonas Blixt (Florida State), Bud Cauley (Alabama), Kevin Chappell (UCLA), Harris English (Georgia), Chesson Hadley (Georgia Tech), Brian Harman (Georgia), Russell Henley (Georgia), Dustin Johnson (Coastal Carolina), Anthony Kim (Oklahoma), Scott Langley (Illinois), Spencer Levin (New Mexico), Webb Simpson (Wake Forest), Jordan Spieth (Texas), Michael Thompson (Alabama), Camilo Villegas (Florida) and Nick Watney (Fresno State).