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Hovland leads Player-of-the-Year Points Race; 3 months to go
07 Oct 2018
by AmateurGolf.com Staff

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2018 U.S. Amateur champion Viktor Hovland<br>(USGA photo)
2018 U.S. Amateur champion Viktor Hovland
(USGA photo)

With three months to go in 2018, Viktor Hovland of Norway has the inside track to AmateurGolf.com Player-of-the-Year honors.

The U.S. Amateur champion and Oklahoma State Cowboy has a 1225 point lead over John Augenstein of Owensboro, Ky. and Vanderbilt University.

Hovland became a household name in amateur golf circles with his U.S. Amateur win at Pebble Beach, but he has had deep tournament runs throughout the year. His summer also included a runner-up finish in Europe's biggest event, the European Amateur in the Netherlands, an 8th place finish at the World Amateur Team Championship, and a final 16 run at the British Amateur at Royal Aberdeen in Scotland.

At Oklahoma State, Hovland won the Valspar Collegiate in March and had two runner-ups and two 3rd-place finishes. He was 11th in the NCAA Championship and was a part of the team that brought Oklahoma State their 11th championship all time.

Augenstein, the Players Amateur champion, has been a model of consistency in 2018 and tops the U.S. Player-of-the-Year race. He was a quarterfinalist at the Western Amateur and had top-6 finishes in some of the biggest tournaments in amateur golf: the Sunnehanna, Southern Amateur, Northeast Amateur and Jones Cup. He won the Mason Rudolph Championship for Vanderbilt and finished 9th at the NCAAs.

Augenstein leads a tight race over the California duo of Justin Suh of USC and Collin Morikawa of Cal, who themselves are 1-2 in the California Player-of-the-Year race, just 100 points apart.

Braden Thornberry, the 2017 AmateurGolf.com Player-of-the-Year, sits 5th in the World points race and 4th in the U.S.

Some big tournaments remain, both on the college golf calendar and around the world, in 2018 and the points races will not be settled until the final points event, the Patriot All-America, on the final day of the year.

Hovland also tops the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Amateur Ranking, the rolling ranking going back one year.

Women

Kristen Gillman
Kristen Gillman of Austin, Tex. and the University of Alabama leads the Women's points race by a narrow 200-point margin over Patty Tavatanakit of Thailand and UCLA.

Gillman, who in August won her second U.S. Women's Amateur, also made history by winning a professional event a month earlier on the Japanese LPGA Tour. She finished T27 at the U.S. Women's Open, 4th in the Women's World Amateur Team, and 7th at the Women's NCAA Championships.

Tavatanakit was the low amateur at the U.S. Women's Open with a remarkable 5th place finish, but she racked up the bulk of her points for UCLA, winning four times including the PAC-12 Championship, NCAA Women's Regional, and most recently the ANNIKA Intercollegiate.

She still holds the #1 spot in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com Women's Ranking, the rolling ranking going back one year, but Gillman has closed to #2.

Jaclyn Lee of Canada and Ohio State sits third in the points race, followed by Jennifer Kupcho of Denver, Colo. and Wake Forest, and Tavatanakit's teammate Lilia Vu of Fountain Valley, Calif.

The tight points race should go all the way to the season's end, with the Joanne Winter Arizona Silver Belle wrapping up the women's competitive amateur season on December 30.

Senior

Gene Elliott
The Senior points race has not been so tight. Gene Elliott of West Des Moines, Iowa has dominated in his second season as a senior after finishing runner-up last year's Player-of-the-Year points race to Doug Hanzel, who earned the honor for the third time.

Elliott has won the Jones Cup Senior, the Golfweek Senior National Match Play, the Crump Cup Senior, and the George C. Thomas Senior in 2018. He was the runner-up in the Coleman Senior and National Senior Hall of Fame, and finished 3rd in the British Senior and Canadian Senior. His run at the U.S. Senior fell short with a Final 16 finish, but he traveled to Scotland and open qualified for the British Senior Open at St. Andrews.

National Senior Hall of Fame champion Jack Hall (Savannah, Ga.) sits a distant second, with Canadian Senior champ Brady Exber (Las Vegas, Nev.), Allen Peake (Macon, Ga.) and Mike McCoy (W. Des Moines, Iowa) rounding out the top five.

The senior season heats up in the late fall and winter, with several big national events concluding with the SOS Ralph Bogart Senior and Dixie Senior in December.

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