2019 Ben Hogan Award: Making the case for Viktor Hovland, Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff

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2019 Ben Hogan Award: Making the case for Viktor Hovland, Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff

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2019 Ben Hogan Award: Making the case for Viktor Hovland, Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff

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Oklahoma State’s Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff and California’s Collin Morikawa were announced as the three finalists for the 2019 Ben Hogan Award presented by Konica Minolta, given annually to the best men’s collegiate golfer based on all college and amateur events over the past 12 months.

All three players are ranked in the top five of the Golfweek/Sagarin college rankings and boast impressive resumes. Who will join past winners like PGA Tour stars Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm?

Let’s make a case for all three finalists:

Viktor Hovland

Stroke average: 68.53
College wins: 3
Amateur wins: 1

The No. 1 player according to the Golfweek/Sagarin college rankings, Hovland has had a year to remember. A native of Oslo, Norway, Hovland tied the record for fewest holes played en route to winning the 2018 U.S. Amateur. That win earned Hovland a spot in last month’s 2019 Masters, where he earned the Silver Cup as the low amateur, finishing in a tie for 32nd. He also made the cut and finished 40th earlier this year at the PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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The Oklahoma State junior also finished runner-up at the 2018 European Amateur, T-8 at the World Amateur Team Championship and reached the Round of 16 at the Amateur Championship.

In his time with the defending national champion Cowboys, Hovland has three wins in the last year at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate, East Lake Cup and The Prestige. He hasn’t finished worse than 12th in his other events, including a second-place finish at the Big 12 Championship, one shot back of TCU’s Hayden Springer. At last year’s 2018 NCAA Championship, Hovland finished T-11.

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Collin Morikawa

Stroke average: 68.38
College wins: 2
Amateur wins: 1 (as member of 2018 U.S. Arnold Palmer Cup team)

Morikawa, No. 3 in the Golfweek/Sagarin college rankings, was a finalist for the Ben Hogan Award last year and has made another strong case for his 2019 candidacy, starting with wins in three-of-four matches in Team USA’s win at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Cup. In other amateur events, Morikawa made the U.S. Amateur Round of 64, Western Amateur Round of 16 and finished inside the top 10 at the Pacific Coast Amateur, Sunnehanna Amateur and World Amateur Team Championships.

The Cal senior has won two college events in his final season with the Golden Bears, most recently as the medalist at the Pac-12 Championships and at February’s Farms Invitational. Morikawa was named the Pac-12 Golfer of the Year thanks to two runner-up finishes and three third-place showings. He hasn’t finished worse than T-7 this season.

Matthew Wolff

Stroke average: 68.36
College wins: 5
Amateur wins: 1 (as member of 2018 U.S. Arnold Palmer Cup team)

No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarin college rankings behind teammate Hovland, Oklahoma State’s sophomore sensation Matthew Wolff has been on an absolute heater this season. Like Morikawa, Wolff was a member of Team USA at the Arnold Palmer Cup, winning two matches. He finished T-50 at the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open and T-4 at the Australia Master of the Amateurs.

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Wolff set an Oklahoma State record with five wins this college season at the Carmel Cup, Olympia Fields Illini Invitational, Royal Oaks Intercollegiate, Amer Ari Invitational and Valspar Collegiate. Across all collegiate events, he hasn’t finished worse than 15th. He finished T-7 at last year’s NCAA Championships, but will go down in Cowboy history thanks to his clinching putt to seal the deal for Oklahoma State’s 11th national title.

All three finalists will be in Fort Worth, Texas, at Colonial Country Club on May 20, and the winner will be presented the trophy by 2018 Ben Hogan Award winner Doug Ghim (Texas).

This year’s winner will receive an exemption to the PGA Tour’s 2019 Charles Schwab Invitational, May 23-26 at Colonial.

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