DUBLIN, Ohio – Michael Kim of California, Abilene Christian’s Alex Carpenter, Brad Shigezawa of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS), Oklahoma City’s Sondre Ronold and Jake Argento of South Mountain Community College have been named the 2013 Jack Nicklaus Award recipients as the GCAA Collegiate Players of the Year. The Nicklaus Award recognizes the top players at the Division I, II, II, NAIA and NJCAA levels.
Kim, a sophomore, is the first Cal golfer to ever win the Jack Nicklaus Award. He also earned Division I PING First-Team All-America, All-West Region and Pac-12 Men’s Golfer of the Year honors in 2012-13. Kim headed into the NCAA Championship as the nation’s No. 1-ranked player, according to both Golfweek and Golfstat. In addition, he was one of three finalists for The Ben Hogan Award given to the top amateur player among collegiate golfers. Kim was individual medalist a single-season school-record four times in 2012-13 (Isleworth Collegiate Invitational, Arizona Intercollegiate, John A. Burns Intercollegiate, Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters). He totaled seven top-five finishes, also tying for second at both the Gopher Invitational and Western Intercollegiate, while tying for fifth at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational. Kim finished in the top 10 in 10 of 14 stroke-play events and posted an adjusted stroke-play average of 70.14 over 43 rounds to earn the Golfstat Cup for the lowest adjusted stroke-play average in men’s collegiate golf. In addition, Kim was No. 1 for Team USA in the final 2012-13 Palmer Cup Rankings and will play June 7-9 in the Palmer Cup.
Carpenter is receiving his second Nicklaus Award after also earning Player of the Year honors as a sophomore in 2011. A native of Little Rock, Ark., he recently left Abilene Christian University with 20 collegiate tournament victories, a number that’s believed to be the NCAA record for all divisions—surpassing the previous record of 16 set by Phil Mickelson. Carpenter also qualified for two Palmer Cup teams during his ACU tenure, making him the only non-Division I golfer to be selected twice for the event. He won five tournaments this season, including four straight earlier this spring. Carpenter received four consecutive Lone Star Conference Player of the Year honors from 2010-13, and in May he became the first Wildcat golfer to win ACU’s Paul Goad Award, which is presented annually to the school’s top student-athlete.
Shigezawa capped an outstanding junior season at CMS in Claremont, Calif., by winning the individual title at the NCAA Championships by four shots with a score of 283 (-2). Shigezawa played in nine tournaments this year—two in the fall and seven in the spring—winning five and finishing second in two others. He was the top Division III finisher in eight of the nine. Over his final six tournaments, five of which he won, Shigezawa shot eight under par over 15 rounds. A PING First Team All-American this season, he was also named the SCIAC Player of the Year. Shigezawa is a Biology major from Honolulu, Hawaii.
Ronold highlighted Oklahoma City University’s NAIA men’s golf PING All-Americans after capturing the individual national championship in the NAIA Championships at Creekside Golf Club in Salem, Ore. Ronold took the individual crown in his only national tournament appearance in front of his family who traveled from Stavanger, Norway. Ronold tied for first place in the San Antonio Shootout on Feb. 25-26 at TPC San Antonio, but lost in the playoff. He completed his senior season with a 74.17 stroke average, Sooner Athletic Conference golfer of the week for Feb. 27-March 3 and four top-10 finishes.
Argento of Phoenix-based South Mountain Community College won four events this season—the MGCCC Fall Invitational, Glendale CC Invitational, 12th Annual Goosepond Fling, the Chandler-Gilbert CC Invitational and NJCAA Region I Division II Championship. He had four additional top-five showings and never finished outside the top nine in 11 events this season. The sophomore from Gilbert, Ariz., led South Mountain CC to the NJCAA Division II national title. Argento was named PING All-America First-Team, the Arizona Community College Athletic Association Player of the Year and PING All-West Region. He posted a 70.83 scoring average.
Since 1988, the award for the GCAA Collegiate Players of the Year has been named after Jack Nicklaus, a Big Ten and NCAA Champion at The Ohio State University. Mr. Nicklaus annually recognizes the recipients during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, just outside of Nicklaus’ hometown of Columbus.