Men's Golf, Sun, Jun. 2
Dublin, Ohio - College of Coastal Georgia golfer Mark David Johnson was presented with the Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award Sunday morning in a ceremony at Murfield Village Golf Club.
Golf great Jack Nicklaus poses for a photo with Coastal Georgia coach Mike Cook and standout Mark David Johnson.
Johnson, who won this year's NAIA individual national championship, was one of five collegiate golfers receiving the Nicklaus Award as the top player in the various divisions within college golf. The other players honored were Matthew Wolff from Oklahoma State (NCAA Division I), Jorge Garcia from Barry (NCAA D-II), Josh Gibson of Hope (NCAA D-III) and Callum Bruce from Midland College (National Junior College Athletic Association).
The players competed Saturday in the Barbesol Shootout on the Scarlet Course at Ohio State University Golf Club in nearby Columbus. Bruce, who will finish out his collegiate career at San Diego State after winning this year's NJCAA Divison I national title, won the 18-hole match and earned an exemption into next month's Barbesol Championship on the PGA Tour.
Sunday's awards ceremony was held in the media center at Muirfield Village where Nicklaus serves as the annual host of the PGA Tour's Memorial Tournament. The tournament's final round was played on Sunday with former Nicklaus Award recipient Patrick Cantlay, who played at UCLA, winning this year's event for his second career victory on the PGA Tour.
Other past Nicklaus Award winners include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Justin Thomas.
Coastal Georgia coach Mike Cook and his son Michael attended the ceremony on Sunday and also watched Johnson play in the shootout on Saturday afternoon after flying up in the morning.
Johnson's parents also made the trip to Ohio for this weekend's festivities put on by the Golf Coaches Association of America.
Johnson became the first Coastal Georgia golfer to win the NAIA individual crown when he prevailed in a three-man sudden-death playoff by making a birdie on the first playoff hole. The Coastal Georgia senior helped the Mariners to a runner-up finish as a team at Las Sendas Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz., giving them their fourth top-five finish in the last six NAIA national championship tournaments. Coastal Georgia won back-to-back national team titles in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
The national championship triumph was the fourth victory of the 2018-19 season for Johnson who won twice with the Mariners last season as a junior after transferring from Western Carolina. The six career wins put Johnson atop the program's all-time wins list along with former CCGA standout Dylan Freeman who played four years with the Mariners and was a senior on the 2014 national title team.
Also this week, Johnson was named a First-Team All-American by the NAIA for the second straight season. He is the first Coastal Georgia athlete in any sport to earn First-Team All-American recognition twice in a career.
Johnson is a St. Simons Island native who played high-school golf at Glynn Academy.
Originally published online at http://www.coastalgeorgiasports.com/article/2466