UW Men's Golf ace Corey Pereira has been named as a semifinalist for the Jack Nicklaus Award for the Division I National Player of the Year.
The Nicklaus award is one of the "of the year" awards that recognize the best men's golfers at each level of college competition. Not to be confused with the Ben Hogan Award, the Nicklaus Award honors the best golfers in the nation and affords its winners an opportunity to compete for an exemption into a PGA Tour event later in the summer.
Pereira has had a great junior season and is preparing to lead UW as the Huskies head into the PAC-12 Championships teeing off tomorrow. He has recorded two wins on the season giving him three for his career. Impressively, Pereira has finished in the top 26 in all nine of the tournaments that he has competed in this season.
He will be leading the Huskies, currently ranked #25 in the nation, in the PAC-12 Championship to be hosted in Salt Lake City starting tomorrow and going through the weekend. Pereira headlines a UW lineup that also includes Jonathan Sanders, Frank Garber, Carl Yuan, Chris Babcock, and Jordan Lu. Sanders, a senior, has had a great UW career which includes a win in the 2014 NCAA Regionals in Raliegh as well as a win this season at the Redhawk Invitational. Garber, only a sophomore, won the Redhawk a year ago and finished as a runner-up in the Arizona Intercollegiate earlier this year.
UW will be seeking its seventh PAC-12 championship. It last won it in 2010, when the program was led by Ben Hogan Award winner Nick Taylor. Since then, the Huskies have maintained a very high level of competition under head coach Matt Thurmond, boasting such great talents as 2013 Ben Hogan Award winner Chris Williams and 8-time tournament winner CT Pan. This season, the Huskies have three team wins under their belts, bettering their performance from a season ago by one.
The competition for UW will be stiff. The PAC-12 field is led by both #4 Stanford and #5 USC. In addition, Arizona State, Cal, and Oregon each boast top-25 teams. The Huskies are an interesting team to watch in this tournament given the balance of youth and experience that they have in the lineup. Five of the six UW golfers have won college tournaments: Sanders (3), Pereira (3), Garber, Kwon, and Babcock.
Still, this tournament will feature some of the best golfers in the country. Arizona State's Jon Rahm edged out CT Pan as last year's Hogan Award winner. Rahm, Stanford's Maverick McNealy, and Oregon's Aaron Wise are all finalists for the same award again this season.
Make sure to follow @UW_mgolf on Twitter to keep track of all the action this weekend.