Alabama’s Hodges, Riley Named Semifinalists for the Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year Award
Alabama senior Lee Hodges and junior Davis Riley were each named as semifinalists for the Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year Award, the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) announced on Tuesday.
In addition to the Crimson Tide duo, the 30-man list included seven other golfers from around the Southeastern Conference. Hodges and Riley were one of only four sets of teammates to earn the recognition from the GCAA. Oklahoma State (Zach Bauchou, Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff) led the charge with three honorees, while Illinois (Nick Hardy and Dylan Meyer) and Vanderbilt (Will Gordon and Theo Humphrey) tied Alabama with two selections each.
Hodges has been red-hot this spring, as he has claimed two medalist honors (Puerto Rico Classic and Linger Longer Invitational), owns four top-10 finishes and five top-15 results in the Tide’s six tournaments in 2018. The SEC Men’s Golfer of the Week for the week of March 21, Hodges is currently ranked No. 12 in the nation and tops the squad in stroke average (70.63), average vs. par (-0.57) and rounds of par or better (20) this year.
Meanwhile, Riley is ranked No. 20 in the nation in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings heading into NCAA Regional play. The Hattiesburg, Miss., native ranks just behind Hodges in both stroke average (70.90) and average vs. par (-0.30). Riley, who claimed the medalist honor at the Olympia Fields/Illini Invitational last fall, leads the Tide with four top-five finishes, while his six top-10 results are tied with Hodges for the team lead.
Division I finalists will be named May 24, with the announcement of the five golfers who receive the award coming on May 31. The honor is presented by Jack Nicklaus at a ceremony during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide at Muirfield Village Golf Club. In addition to receiving the Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award, the recipients will compete in the Barbasol Shootout for an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s Barbasol Championship, held July 16-22, at the Champions at Keene Trace in Lexington, Ky. The Barbasol Shootout will be held Saturday, June 2, at the storied Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio.
Riley, Hodges and the Crimson Tide will be back in action on May 14-16 when they compete at NCAA Regionals.
The regional announcement will take place on Wednesday at 5 p.m. CT (6 p.m. ET) on the Golf Channel. Teams will be selected to compete in the six regional sites, May 14-16 (13 teams and 10 individuals at three regionals and 14 teams and five individuals at three regionals). Thirty teams and six individuals will advance from regional sites to the national championships to be played May 25-30 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.