Ahead of title defense, Viktor Hovland wins the Ben Hogan Award
Viktor Hovland (GCAA photo)
Viktor Hovland (GCAA photo)

Oklahoma State junior Viktor Hovland was named the winner of the 2019 Ben Hogan Award presented by Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. (Konica Minolta) Monday night at a black-tie dinner at Colonial Country Club. The Hogan Trophy Award Foundation, Friends of Golf (FOG) and Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) made the joint presentation.

The Ben Hogan Award is given annually to the top men’s college golfer taking into account all collegiate and amateur competitions over the past 12 months. The selection committee is made up of 30 leaders and experts in amateur, college and professional golf, including AmateurGolf.com founder Pete Wlodkowski. In addition, all past Hogan Award winners are eligible to vote in the final round. In order to determine the winner, each ballot cast ranked the group of three finalists, which included Hovland, California senior Collin Morikawa and Oklahoma State sophomore Matthew Wolff.

Hovland is the fourth winner from Oklahoma State since the award moved to Colonial, joining Hunter Mahan (2003), Rickie Fowler (2008) and Peter Uihlein (2011). In addition, he is the second European recipient ever, joining Spaniard Jon Rahm (2015, 2016).

Hovland tops the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Amateur Ranking, and is currently ranked first in three other major ranking systems–the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking and Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking. In addition, he is listed second in the Golfstat College Ranking. Last month, he claimed the Silver Cup as the low amateur at the 2019 Masters Tournament after tying for 32nd place.

The native of Oslo, Norway, won the 2018 U.S. Amateur Championship title, tying the record for the fewest holes played in a U.S. Amateur since 1979 in the process. He was the runner up at last year’s European Amateur, reached the round of 16 at the Amateur Championship and tied for eighth at the World Amateur Team Championship. He also represented Europe at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Cup.

Including the Masters, Hovland gained entrance into four PGA TOUR events in 2018-19. Hovland tied for 40th at the PGA TOUR’s 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational, and also earned starts at the Mayakoba Golf Classic and Farmers Insurance Open.

During college play, the junior recorded three victories, collecting titles at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate, East Lake Cup and The Prestige. In addition, he has placed among the top 12 in all eight tournaments, including runner-up showings at the Big 12 Championships and the NCAA Louisville Regional. For the season, Hovland boasted a stroke average of 68.59 with 15 of his 22 rounds in the 60s. He shared 11th place at the 2018 NCAA Championship.

Next up for Hovland: the NCAA Championships in Arkansas, where he and his Oklahoma State teammates will attempt to defend the title they won last year on their home course in Stillwater.

The Ben Hogan Trophy was first issued by FOG in 1990 at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles and also included academic achievement in its original list of standards. In 2002, the Ben Hogan Award moved to Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, Hogan’s hometown and the site of five of his PGA TOUR victories. At that time, it revised its criteria to its current standard of honoring the outstanding amateur and collegiate golfer. In 2005, the tradition of inviting the three finalists began.

In addition to Mahan, Fowler and Uihlein, the Cowboys also had a pair of winners at Bel-Air in Kevin Wentworth (1990) and Trip Kuehne (1995). Both the four winners at Colonial and six overall winners are the most by any school in the country. Hovland is the second straight Big 12 Conference recipient, following Texas’ Doug Ghim.

Ghim presented Hovland with the bronze Hogan trophy, while Eddie Merrins of FOG awarded the Hogan crystal. In addition, Hovland also received the first invitation into the PGA TOUR’s 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge from tournament chairman Rob Hood.

Since 2002, the Hogan Trophy Award Foundation has awarded more than $800,000 in scholarships to over two dozen schools. This year, nearly $70,000 in grants will be distributed, with $30,000 going to the winner’s university, $15,000 to the two finalists’ schools. Contributions also will be made to the GCAA and the charity of choice of Jon Rahm, this year’s featured guest.

Winners of the Ben Hogan Award include three golfers currently ranked in the top 15 in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR)—No. 10 Fowler (2008), No. 11 Rahm (2015, 2016) and No. 14 Patrick Cantlay (2012). Other recipients include: Ricky Barnes (2003), Matt Every (2006), Ghim (2018), Bill Haas (2004), Chris Kirk (2007), Mahan (2003), Maverick McNealy (2017), Ryan Moore (2005), Patrick Rodgers (2014), Kyle Stanley (2009), Nick Taylor (2010), D.J. Trahan (2002), Uihlein (2011) and Chris Williams (2013).

Ben Hogan Award winners have collected 37 PGA TOUR victories, have played on eight Ryder Cup teams and 10 Presidents Cup teams and have amassed more than $225 million in winnings. Past winners in attendance on Monday included Fowler, Ghim, Rahm and Chris Williams.

ABOUT THE Ben Hogan Award

The Ben Hogan Award is given annually to honor the best college golf player in the United States. Since 2005, the award winner is named at a ceremony prior to the PGA Tour event at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, and is invited to the following year's tournament.

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