NORMAN, Okla. – Senior Brandon Hagy was named the winner of the 2014 Byron Nelson Award during a live television appearance Monday morning on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive. The award is presented by Cleveland Golf/Srixon, in cooperation with the Four Seasons Report and Club Las Colinas, the Salesmanship Club of Dallas and the Golf Coaches Association of America. Hagy is the first Cal player to win the award.
“It is an incredible honor to receive the Byron Nelson Award,” Hagy said. “It is humbling to be associated with Mr. Nelson’s name and this is a memory I will keep for the rest of my life. I feel fortunate to know the other finalists and I will say that college golf and the communities they are from are better off with them involved in the game. They are outstanding in their own ways. I have tried to have balance throughout my golfing career and I feel it is our obligation to give back.”
Candidates for the Nelson Award must be graduating seniors and the selection committee considers equally a nominee’s entire collegiate academic and golf career and his character and integrity while in college. Particular consideration is given to a nominee’s good citizenship, as portrayed by Mr. Byron Nelson over the course of his life and golf career.
“Byron Nelson was known as the gentleman of golf and was one of the most likeable and most respected players in the history of the PGA TOUR,” Cal head coach Steve Desimone said. “He was known for giving back to communities and people and was one of the best human beings on the planet.”
“This award is a very special when you include the student, the athlete, the integrity and the community service,” Desimone added. “No one has done it better than Brandon and that was recognized by him winning this award. I’m so proud of and happy for Brandon. I’m sure there were other great candidates, but I’d be hard pressed to believe that there was anybody more deserving of this award.”
Hagy is involved with a number of community service and volunteer activities. Off campus, he works with The First Tee, Special Olympics and the Northern California Golf Association’s Youth on Course for underprivileged children. Hagy is also an officer and the golf team’s representative on the Golden Bear Advisory Committee, a group that organizes student-athletes in community service including feeding the homeless, visiting local hospitals, and Jog for Jill (a cancer awareness and fundraising project) among others, as well as acting as a liaison to the Cal athletics administration on behalf of fellow student-athletes.
Hagy is also a 2013-14 national player of the year candidate, a national semifinalist for The Ben Hogan Award, the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, a first-team All-Pac-12 selection and Cal’s co-team MVP along with fellow Byron Nelson Award finalist Joël Stalter. Hagy is ranked No. 5 on the most recent watch list for the Haskins Award, while he is the No. 7 collegiate player nationally in the latest Golfweek rankings and No. 8 according to Golfstat. He has been an individual medalist three times this season (Jack Nicklaus Invitational, Arizona Intercollegiate, Aggie Invitational) and has finished in the top 10 in nine of 12 events with eight of those in the top five. He has also been Cal’s top finisher in four events and leads the Golden Bears with a 70.83 stroke average. Hagy is the only Golden Bear to have played in each of the team’s 12 events and 36 rounds in 2013-14.
Over his collegiate career, Hagy is a four-time individual medalist with 17 top-five showings and 21 finishes in the top 10. Hagy earned second-team All-American, All-Region and second-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2012-13. He will represent the United States in the 2014 Palmer Cup.
Hagy also was an All-America Scholar, third-team Academic All-America and first-team Academic All-District 8 in 2012-13, while earning his second consecutive Pac-12 All-Academic selection with a third straight expected in 2013-14. He has completed the work for his bachelor’s degree from the Haas School of Business and will graduate from Cal in May of 2014.
Cal will return to action May 15-17 at one an NCAA Regional hosted by Northern Illinois at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. The regional is one of six to take place with the other five sites Auburn, Ala. (Auburn University Club, Host – Auburn); Columbia, Mo. (The Club at Old Hawthorne, Host – Missouri); Eugene, Ore. (Eugene Country Club, Host – Oregon); Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Pole Golf Course, Host – North Carolina State); and San Antonio, Tex. (Briggs Ranch Golf Club; Host – UTSA).
The top five teams from each of the six regionals will advance to the NCAA Championship hosted by Wichita State and played May 23-28 at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan.
“It’s been a great year and we’re not done,” Desimone said.