Justin Thomas picked up a golf club for the first time when he was 18 months old, competed in a tournament when he was 6 years old and played in an event away from home when he was 8. Now, as a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Alabama, he is the winner of the 2012 Haskins Award, an honor reserved for the nation’s top collegiate golfer.
The winner was announced Thursday by the Haskins Commission following a vote of Division I golfers and coaches as well as golf media. Thomas is the first Crimson Tide golfer to win the award, which a year ago went to UCLA’s Patrick Cantlay.
“We’re certainly excited to add Justin to our list of winners. He’s a great golfer and an impressive young man. His fellow golfers and coaches recognized that as a freshman he finished first in four tournaments and was in the top 10 nine different times,” said J. Madden Hatcher Jr., the president of the Haskins Commission.
The award honors the late Fred Haskins, resident pro at the Country Club of Columbus, who shared the values and traditions of amateur golf with generations of young people in Saturday morning clinics that never cost more than a dime.
A member of the PING All-America team, Thomas was the medalist in both the Southeastern Conference Tournament and the NCAA Athens Regional. He was SEC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year and helped the Tide finish second in the NCAA Tournament.
“Coming into the year, I felt like I was good enough to compete but no one expects to win four times as a freshman,” said Thomas, a native of Goshen, Ky., whose father and grandfather are longtime club pros.
Thomas also joins an impressive group of Haskins alumni who, collectively, have more than 250 PGA TOUR wins and nearly 400 worldwide wins. Ben Crenshaw of Texas and Phil Mickelson of Arizona State are the only three-time winners on a list that includes Tiger Woods of Stanford, Matt Kuchar of Georgia Tech, Luke Donald of Northwestern and Graeme McDowell of UAB.
– Courtesy The Wire