This season’s Haskins Award race will have a remarkably different look.
The reigning recipient, Oklahoma State’s Matthew Wolff, has turned pro, as have top contenders Viktor Hovland of Oklahoma State, Collin Morikawa of Cal and Will Gordon of Vanderbilt. There was certainly a ton of changeover in the men's gamee.
That leaves Texas sophomore Cole Hammer, Arizona State senior Chun An Yu and Florida State junior John Pak as the top candidates entering this season.
The Fred Haskins Award presented by Stifel is awarded annually to the most outstanding men’s college golfer, as voted on by players, coaches and media members. Past winners of the Haskins Award include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ben Crenshaw.
Here is a preseason ranking of the top 25 contenders heading into the fall:
1. Cole Hammer, Soph., Texas: Will miss the Longhorns’ fall opener because of the Walker Cup, but upon his return he should have a strong shot to win every time he tees it up, just like last spring when he won three times and notched four more top-5s.
2. Chun An Yu, Sr., Arizona State: Has a legit case to be No. 1 on this list with seven career finishes of T-2 or better, including three wins, and will likely be a top-10 machine for one of the best teams in the country.
3. John Pak, Jr., Florida State: May be the most accurate player in college golf and should be extra motivated after he and the Seminoles failed to advance past regionals last season despite a four-win individual campaign as a sophomore.
4. John Augenstein, Sr., Vanderbilt: “Flash” showed his superhuman-like skill by reaching the final of the U.S. Amateur. Now, he’ll be tasked with leading the Commodores, who lost All-Americans Will Gordon and Patrick Martin.
5. Austin Eckroat, Jr., Oklahoma State: The Cowboys are Eckroat’s team now that Matt Wolff, Viktor Hovland and Zach Bauchou are gone. He’s already shown he’s capable of handling that kind of role, winning a tournament in each of his first two seasons while building a 5-0 career record in NCAA match play.
6. Jovan Rebula, Sr., Auburn: “Big Jo” has a sweet swing like his uncle Ernie Els, but there is room for Rebula, last season's SEC individual champ, to join that upper echelon of player-of-the-year candidates after finishing just 68th in Golfstat’s rankings as a junior.
7. Trent Phillips, Soph., Georgia: Was the early favorite for Phil Mickelson Award last fall, but he couldn’t get over the hump and win a tournament. That’s the next step for this talented lefty.
8. Pierceson Coody, Soph., Texas: After a freshman season in which he posted five top-10s, Coody is poised to possibly double that this season after a strong summer.
9. Ricky Castillo, Fr., Florida: There’s a lot of talented incoming freshmen, but many believe Castillo is the best of the bunch. He reached match play at the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Junior and Western Amateur, advancing to the semifinals at the latter.
10. Sahith Theegala, Sr., Pepperdine: He missed all of last season recovering from wrist surgery, so there’s a bit of an unknown here and the Waves will be hesistant to push him considering their depth. However, if fully healthy, Theegala is one of the nation’s best.
11. Spencer Ralston, Sr., Georgia
12. Quade Cummins, Sr., Oklahoma
13. Andy Ogletree, Sr., Georgia Tech
14. Matthias Schmid, Jr., Louisville
15. Sandy Scott, Sr., Texas Tech
16. Luke Schniederjans, Sr., Georgia Tech
17. Travis Vick, Fr., Texas
18. Chandler Eaton, Sr., Duke
19. Alex Fitzpatrick, Soph., Wake Forest
20. McClure Meissner, Jr., SMU
21. Eugenio Chacarra, Soph., Wake Forest
22. Davis Thompson, Jr., Georgia
23. Philip Barbaree, Sr., LSU
24. Peter Kuest, Sr., BYU
25. Ludvig Aberg, Fr., Texas Tech