2024 Jack Nicklaus Award recipients announced
03 Jun 2024
by Golf Coaches Association of America

see also: Jackson Koivun Rankings

Jackson Koivun of Auburn University, Leandro Mihaich of Oklahoma Christian University, Jackson Klutznick of Emory University, Isac Wallin of Keiser University, and Grant Greazel of Kirkwood Community College have been named the 2024 Jack Nicklaus Award presented by Workday recipients. The Nicklaus Award recognizes the national player of the year at the Division I, II, III, NAIA, and NJCAA levels.

Koivun, Auburn’s first Nicklaus Award recipient, is the only golfer to win the Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Phil Mickelson Outstanding Freshman awards in the same season. Being the Division I winner of the Jack Nicklaus Award, Koivun earns a spot in the elite field for this week’s Memorial Tournament presented by Workday.

“The collegiate game is so strong right now, and this year’s group of winners serves as an ideal example of that,” said Nicklaus. “The competition among all divisions is just tremendous, and you can see how well it prepares these young men when they choose to take their careers to the next level. Just look at Ludvig Åberg, our 2023 Division I winner out of Texas Tech. A year later, Ludvig has a PGA TOUR win, has played in a Ryder Cup, and is the No. 6 player in the world. Recent recipients Chris Gotterup (2022) and Sahith Theegala (2020) have PGA TOUR victories, and after Sahith contended in the recent PGA Championship, he’s up to No. 12 in the world. The young talent out there is terrific!

“I had a chance to watch Jackson a little in the NCAA Championships, as he led Auburn to a title, and he certainly doesn’t play like a freshman. He won in extra holes in the semifinals to advance his team, and in the finals against Florida State, he was the first to put a point on the board. I think playing this week at Muirfield Village Golf Club will just add to the great experiences Jackson has enjoyed this year. We wish him well.”

Division I: Koivun, a native of San Jose, Calif., finished inside the top 10 in 12 of his 13 tournaments, including national runner-up at the 2024 NCAA Division I Championship, and had the lowest adjusted scoring average in NCAA Division I (67.3) this season. Koivun led the top-ranked Tigers to a colossal 10 tournament wins, including their first national championship and fifth Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship in program history, by carding a combined 7-0 record in Match Play. He set school records for most subpar rounds and birdies made in a single season and was Auburn’s first, and the conference’s third, player to earn SEC Freshman and Player of the Year honors in the same season.

Division II: Mihaich transferred to Oklahoma Christian in Edmond after being a PING Second-Team All-American at Oklahoma City (NAIA) last season – and he didn’t miss a beat. The sophomore from Bell Ville, Argentina, won the Lone Star Conference (LSC) Championship, finished second at the South Central/West Regional, and won both of his matches in 2024 NCAA Division II Championship Medal Match Play. With nine top-10 and seven top-five finishes, Mihaich earned LSC Newcomer of the Year, First-Team All-LSC, PING All-Region, and PING First-Team All-America honors while leading the Eagles to their third straight NCAA Championship appearance. Mihaich is the first Oklahoma Christian golfer since Oscar Stark in 2011 (when an NAIA member) to win the Nicklaus Award.

Division III: Klutznick is the first golfer out of Atlanta-based Emory to receive the Nicklaus Award and three PING First-Team All-America honors. The senior from Denver, Colo., recorded nine top-15 finishes and the lowest adjusted scoring average in NCAA Division III (70.0) this season. Klutznick broke multiple program records with his 11-stroke victory at the Gate City Invitational. He carded 19 birdies over three rounds, including eight and a hole-in-one during his final-round 61, to complete the 16-under 197 (67-69-61). The finish broke his own one-round and three-round program records by three and nine strokes, respectively. On April 23, Klutznick became just the third NCAA Division III player to be selected for the Arnold Palmer Cup by Team USA.

NAIA: Wallin, a senior at Keiser in West Palm Beach, Fla., was the first Seahawk to earn Sun Conference Golfer of the Year honors multiple times after recording the lowest adjusted scoring average in NAIA (69.9) and finishing inside the top 10 nine times this season. A native of Kungsängen, Sweden, Wallin won four of his 10 tournaments, including the Saint Leo Invitational that fielded 19 NCAA Division II programs, four of whom were ranked in the top 17 nationally by the Bushnell/Golfweek DII Coaches Poll. Wallin shot a school-record 54-hole total of 199 (65-67-67, -17) for a six-stroke victory. Finishing inside the top five seven times, the first four-time PING All-American in program history joins former teammate Jakub Stavang Stubhaug (2022) as Nicklaus Award recipients from Keiser.

NJCAA: Greazel is the first golfer from Kirkwood, located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to win the Nicklaus Award. The sophomore from Marshalltown, Iowa, carded 15 birdies, including seven in the second round and four during the final round, to win the 2024 NJCAA Division II Championship by five strokes and lead the defending national champions to a second-place finish. Greazel finished all 13 tournaments this season inside the top 15 with five top-three finishes and four victories before earning his second PING All-Region and first PING First-Team All-America honors.

Nicklaus, a Big Ten and NCAA Champion at Ohio State, helped inspire and create the Jack Nicklaus Award in 1988. The award is now presented to the National Player of the Year in NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, as well as NAIA and NJCAA.

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