Men’s Golf: Virginia’s James named finalist for Jack Nicklaus Award

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Photo: UVA Athletics

Virginia first-year men’s golfer Ben James is one of five finalists for the 2023 Division I Jack Nicklaus Award the Golf Coaches Association of America announced Thursday. The winner will be announced in June at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, and presented by award namesake Jack Nicklaus during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday.

The other four finalists will be Ludvig Åberg (Texas Tech), Adrien Dumont de Chassart (Illinois), Gordon Sargent (Vanderbilt), and Michael Thorbjornsen (Stanford).

James (Milford, Conn.) was previously announced as one of 10 finalists for the Haskins Award which is presented to the nation’s top collegiate player. He is the only freshman that is a finalist for both awards.

James is ranked No. 7 in the latest Golfstat standings. He leads UVA with a 69.0 stroke average this season. He has picked up a school record five first-place finishes this season and has placed in the top four at 10 of 12 tournaments this year. Most recently, James was co-medalist at the NCAA Las Vegas Regional, matching his school record 54-hole scoring mark by shooting 20-under 196.

At UVA’s season-opening tournament at the Streamsong Invitational, he also shot 20-under, 196 to capture medalist honors. At that event, UVA posted a team score of 56-under 808, the lowest tournament score in program history. Coming off that opening win, UVA was ranked No. 1 nationally by Golfweek, the program’s first-ever top ranking.

James was also first at the Hamptons Intercollegiate, the General Hackler Championships and  UVA’s own Lewis Chitengwa Memorial. He was an All-ACC selection and placed third at the league championship.

Nicklaus, a Big Ten and NCAA Champion at The Ohio State University, helped inspire and create the Jack Nicklaus Award in 1988, and it is now presented to the National Player of the Year in NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, as well as NAIA and NJCAA.

James and the Cavaliers will open play at the NCAA Championships Friday (May 26) at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.