Kentucky Golf Association announced junior Patrick Newcomb winner of the 2011 KGA John Owens Player of the Year on Monday.
Newcomb, who received the award based on summer tournament placings, is the first Murray State golfer to earn the accolade.
A native of Benton, Ky., Newcomb won the Kentucky State Amateur Championship in June and teamed up with former Racer Josh Rhodes to win the KGA Fred Allen Team Championship in July. Newcomb continued his summer success by tying for the amateur low at the Powerbilt Kentucky Open in August.
“I’m really blessed to get picked for this award,” Newcomb said. “I’d like to thank the people at the KGA, my coach and my parents for everything they’ve done for me to become the player I am today.”
Coach Eddie Hunt showered praise on Newcomb and said he is a special student-athlete at Murray State.
“He is a tremendous competitor who strives to play his best each and every time out,” Hunt said. “All of us associated with Murray State Golf are very proud of him.”
After a slow start to the season, in which the Racers saw near or dead last finishes in all three tournaments, Newcomb and associates have played with purpose and vigor.
The turnaround started with a three-shot deficit going into the final round of the Murray State Invitational held Oct. 3 and 4 at Miller Memorial Golf Course.
“We hadn’t lost our home tournament in eight straight years, and we didn’t want to start now,” Newcomb said of the comeback.
Down five shots off the leader, Newcomb slapped a 4-under 67 to lead the Racers to a final round knockout, besting Lipscomb 852-857. Newcomb took home first place with a 68-70-67=205.
Senior William Hunt had scores of 74-69-70=213 to finish sixth in the field of 75 competitors, while junior Hunter York finished eighth with rounds of 71-74-70=215. Freshman Wade Thompson placed 20th with rounds of 72-75-73=220, while junior Dustin Gosser placed 45th with rounds of 78-74-74=226.
“It was a big win for us, especially after not playing so well to start the season,” Newcomb said. “We’re growing and building and we’re going to have pains, but I believe we’ll be a good team come conference play in the spring.”
This past weekend at Paris Landing State Park in Buchanan, Tenn., the Racers played in the Skyhawk Classic and finished fifth out of 14 teams. Newcomb took home second place overall, firing a 70-68-73=211, just two shots off the leader.
“I pretty much had a summer hangover with as much golf as I played,” Newcomb said. “We started out a little slow and the team played slow as a whole. We’re really starting to get it going.”
York placed 12th with rounds of 73-72-74=219, while junior Tyler Brown had scores of 78-75-72=225 for a spot in 32nd place. Gosser placed 37th with scores of 75-77-77=227 and Thompson retired with an injury after a first round 82.
The Racers tee off again at the Kiawah Island Intercollegiate on Oct. 30 through Nov. 1 at Turtle Point Golf Club in Charleston, S.C.