The NCAA Championship begins in exactly one week and the race for the Haskins Award presented by Stifel is tighter than ever.
LSU sophomore Sam Burns entered the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional trailing Oregon senior Wyndham Clark on the Haskins Award Watch List. But that was before Burns won a regional title on his home course, beating Clark by a shot.
Now, the two players are neck and neck. And don’t rule out Stanford senior Maverick McNealy, the 2015 Haskins winner; Wake Forest junior Will Zalatoris; and Ole Miss sophomore Braden Thornberry. Those three players could win with an NCAA title and poor showings by Burns and Clark at Rich Harvest Farms.
Voting for the 2017 Haskins Award is now open. Players, coaches and media members can vote by clicking here.
The Haskins Award is given annually to the best college player, as voted by players, coaches and media. Haskins Award winners over the years include such notable future professionals as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell and Hunter Mahan.
Texas’ Beau Hossler won the 2016 Haskins Award, beating out Arizona State’s Jon Rahm and Stanford’s Maverick McNealy, the 2015 Haskins winner.
Here are my current top candidates for the 2017 Haskins Award:
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1. Sam Burns
- Year: Sophomore
- School: LSU
- Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking: 2
- Results: Won, NCAA Baton Rouge Regional; Won, Louisiana Classics; Won, Western Refining College All-America Classic; T-1, David Toms Intercollegiate; second, The Prestige at PGA West; second, Ka’anapali Collegiate Classic; T-4, Valspar Collegiate; T-6, Carpet Capital Collegiate; T-6, Aggie Invitational; eighth, Maui Jim Intercollegiate; T-8, Tiger Classic; T-9, Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate; T-9, SEC Championship; T-9, General Hackler Championship; 0-1 in SEC Championship match play
- Scoring average: 69.77
- The buzz: Despite a final-round 75, Burns hung on to win the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional on his home course. More importantly, he notched a head-to-head win over Clark. Burns hasn’t finished worse than T-9 all year and has won four times, which gives him the slight edge over Clark, even though Clark is ranked No. 1 by Golfweek. Burns has played the 73rd toughest schedule in the country.
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2. Wyndham Clark
- Year: Senior
- School: Oregon
- Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking: 1
- Results: Won, Pac-12 Championship; Won, Arizona Intercollegiate; T-1, Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate; second, NCAA Baton Rouge Regional; second, Oregon Duck Invitational; second, Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational; T-2, Bandon Dunes Championship; T-3, Paintbrush Intercollegiate; T-5, Western Intercollegiate; T-6, East Lake Cup (stroke play); T-10, Amer Ari Invitational; T-13, The Goodwin; 2-0 in East Lake Cup match play
- Scoring average: 69.59
- The buzz: What a season it has been for the transfer from Oklahoma State. He has three victories, including the Pac-12 Championship, and just recently finishes a shot out of winning a regional. He hasn’t finished worse than T-13 all season and he…