Mathers and Shephard named Jack Nicklaus Award finalists

Mathers and Shephard named Jack Nicklaus Award finalists

NORMAN, Okla. – Huntingdon golfers Drew Mathers and Stephen Shephard were announced as two of the five finalists for the 2019 Division III Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award on Tuesday.

Mathers and Shephard were named along with Hope College's Josh Gibson, Guilford College's James Mishoe and Washington & Lee's Brian Peccie. Gibson won the award last season.

The winner will be announced on May 30 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio with the award presented by Jack Nicklaus.

The Division III winner, along with the Division I, Division II, NAIA and NJCAA winners will compete in the Barbasol Shootout for an exemption into the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championships on July 18-21 at the Champions at Keene Trace in Lexington, Ky. The Barbasol Shootout will be held on June 1 at The Ohio State University Golf Club's Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio.

Entering this week's NCAA Tournament, Mathers is ranked second in Division III. The junior is averaging 71.04 per round and has 18 rounds of par-or-better in 24 rounds this season. Mathers' scoring average and rounds of par-or-better are both currently NCAA-era season records for the Hawks.

The USA South Golfer of the Year, Mathers has a Huntingdon NCAA-era record three wins this season to go with two second-place finishes and one sixth-place finish in nine tournaments. He has been the medalist or the runner-up in his last five tournaments.

In his three wins, Mathers shot a 4-under 138 in the O'Briant-Jensen Memorial, shot a 2-under 142 in the Wynlakes Intercollegiate and set the USA South Tournament record with an 11-under 205. The 205 is tied for the second best 54-hole total by a Hawk during the NCAA era.

Mathers has nine rounds in the 60s this season including a career-best 5-under 67 in the opening round of the conference tournament.

Shephard entered this week's NCAA Tournament ranked third in Division III. The senior is averaging 71.33 per round and has 17 rounds of par-or-better in 27 rounds this season. A first-team All-Conference selection this season, Shephard has two wins, two second-place finishes and seven top-six finishes in 10 tournaments.

His scoring average and rounds of par-or-better are both currently the second best in a season by a Hawk during the NCAA era and his two wins are tied for the second most by a Huntingdon golfer during the NCAA era.

Shephard won the Jekyll Island Invitational by setting Huntingdon's NCAA-era record for 54 holes with a 12-under 204, won the Emory Invitational with a 2-under 211, tied for second in the Golfweek D3 Invitational with a 6-under 207 and placed second in the USA South Athletic Conference Tournament with a 5-under 211.

Shephard has 10 rounds in the 60s this season, including a career-best 6-under 66 in the third round at Jekyll Island and the third round of the Rhodes College Fall Classic.