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Oklahoma's Chris Gotterup highlights Nicklaus Award national player-of-the-year winners


Justin Tafoya

DUBLIN, Ohio — Chris Gotterup of Oklahoma on Sunday was named the winner of the Jack Nicklaus Award as Division I Collegiate Player of the Year to lead a group of five recipients who were honored at Muirfield Village Golf Club. The Jack Nicklaus Award, created in 1988, recognizes the top men’s players in Division I, II, III, NAIA and NJCAA in conjunction with the Golf Coaches Association of America.

AJ Ewart of Barry was the Division II winner, while Will Hocker of Webster, Jakob Stavang Stubhaug of Keiser and Cecil Belisle of South Mountain won in Division III, NAIA and NJCAA, respectively.

"I am always impressed with the quality of golf these young men play, but when I meet them I am even more impressed with the quality of people they are," said Nicklaus, who presented trophies to the award winners at the Memorial and offered bits of advice and encouragement during an hour-long press conference.

Gotterup, who transferred from Rutgers to Oklahoma and played as a fifth-year senior in 2021-22, was named a Ping first-team All-American after posting 10 top-10 finishes this season for the Sooners and a sub-70 scoring average. The 22-year-old from Little Silver, N.J., finished T-5 at the NCAA Championship last week. A day later he claimed the Fred Haskins Award as national Division I college player of the year.

Gotterup was the only winner not in attendance as he prepares for his first PGA Tour event at next week’s RBC Canadian Open. Ewart, who won seven tournament this season, including four straight and five of his last six, also is competing at the Canadian Open but was on hand to accept his award.

Hocker won seven tournament during the 2021-22 college season as well, including his second St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title. A SLIAC Men's Golfer of the Year and Ping All-American, Hocker has 14 career wins and led Division III this season with a 70.45 adjusted scoring average.

A native of Norway, Stubhaug, just a freshman, won twice, including the NAIA individual championship among 10 top-10 finishes. His postseason honors include the NAIA Phil Mickelson Outstanding Freshman Award and PING first-team All-American.

Finally, Belisle, a first-team All-American, had three wins and helped South Mountain win its eighth NJCAA Division Division II National championship.

Previous winners of the Jack Nicklaus Award include Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm, who have gone on to win the Memorial Tournament, and Justin Thomas, the reigning PGA champion.