|MC Photo by Forrest Allen|
NORMAN, OKLAHOMA - Six finalists have been named for the 2016 NJCAA Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award presented by Barbasol. Jackson Bugdalski (Indian Hills), Stefan Cronje [ Midland College golf ], Connor Klein (South Mountain), Marco Maldonado (Tyler), Grant Motter (Mississippi Gulf Coast) and Kerry Sweeney (Eastern Florida State) are finalists for award. The winner will be announced June 2 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, and presented by award namesake Jack Nicklaus at a ceremony during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.
In addition to receiving the Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award, the five recipients will compete in the Barbasol Shootout for an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s Barbasol Championship, held July 14-17, at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Grand National in Opelika, Ala. The Barbasol Shootout will be held Saturday, June 4 at storied Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio — the same club where Jack Nicklaus learned the game of golf as a young boy.
Bugdalski, a freshman from Kings Langley, Australia, has posted five victories in eight tournaments this season. His other three finishes are second, tied for third and tied for fifth. With a 70.72 stroke average, he has won five of six events this spring.
A freshman from Delmas, Mpumalanga, Republic of South Africa, Cronje won four times during the 2015-16 season. He also carded three runner-up finishes and finished in the top nine in all 11 events in which he competed. Cronje boasts a 69.46 stroke average.
Klein tallied three wins his sophomore season. In seven events, his lowest finish was ninth. Klein, who earned PING First-Team All-America honors last season, posted a 70.38 stroke average.
Maldonado is a freshman from Dibol, Texas. Competing only in the spring season, he has two victories, tied for fourth and tied for sixth twice in five tournaments. Maldonado notched a 71.08 stroke average.
A sophomore from Wiggins, Miss., Motter has won three times this season. He was also runner-up four times and finished inside the top nine in all 11 events. Motter was named first-team Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges and posted a 71.29 stroke average.
The reigning NJCAA Nicklaus Award recipient, Sweeney has one victory and three runner-up finishes in his sophomore campaign. A native of Melbourne, Fla., Sweeney finished outside the top 10 only twice in nine tournaments. His stroke average is 72.04.
Jack Nicklaus, a Big Ten and NCAA champion at Ohio State University, helped inspire and create the Jack Nicklaus Award in 1988, and it is now presented to the National Player of the year in NCAA Divisions I, II and III, as well as NAIA and NJCAA Divisions I and II.
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