CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia first-year men’s golfer Ben James (Milford, Conn.) is one of 37 players named to the 2023 Ben Hogan Award Watch List. He is one of three freshmen players on the list. The joint announcement was made by the Hogan Trophy Award Foundation, the Friends of Golf (FOG) and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA).
The Ben Hogan Award presented by PNC Bank annually awards the top men’s NCAA Division I, II or III, NAIA or NJCAA college golfer based on all collegiate, amateur and professional events over the previous 12 months. Three of the top 12 players in the Official World Golf Ranking—No. 3 Jon Rahm (2015, 2016), No. 5 Patrick Cantlay (2012) and No. 11 Viktor Hovland (2019) —are past recipients of the honor, while No. 8 Collin Morikawa (2018, 2019) was a two-time finalist.
The 2023 Ben Hogan Award watch list, as determined by the award’s subcommittee, features Ludvig Aberg (Texas Tech), Leon Acikalin (Arizona Christian), Cole Anderson (Florida State), Sam Bennett (Texas A&M), Fred Biondi (Florida), Ryan Burnett (North Carolina), Dominic Clemons (Hutchinson Community College), Charles DeLong (Grand Valley State), Adrien Dumont de Chassart (Illinois), Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira (Arkansas), David Ford (North Carolina), Nick Gabrelcik (North Florida), Austin Greaser (North Carolina), Derek Hitchner (Pepperdine), Ben James (Virginia), Connor Jones (Colorado State), Tommy Kuhl (Illinois), Christo Lamprecht (Georgia Tech), Bryce Lewis (Tennessee), Yuxin Lin (Florida), Christiaan Maas (Texas), Dylan Menante (North Carolina), Maxwell Moldovan (Ohio State), William Mouw (Pepperdine), Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen (Oklahoma State), Greg Odom (Howard), Alex Price (Christopher Newport), Gordon Sargent (Vanderbilt), Calum Scott (Texas Tech), Herman Sekne (Purdue), Cole Sherwood (Vanderbilt), Garrison Smith (New Mexico State), Ross Steelman (Georgia Tech), Preston Summerhays (Arizona State), Caleb Surratt (Tennessee), Michael Thorbjornsen (Stanford) and Travis Vick (Texas).
The list includes 20 seniors, seven juniors, seven sophomores and three freshmen. Two award finalists from 2022 return with Aberg, the reigning Ben Hogan Award winner, and Bennett. In addition, Thorbjornsen was a semifinalist last year.
James currently leads the Cavaliers with a 69.33 stroke average following four fall events. He opened his collegiate career with a win at the Streamsong Invitational and also picked up medalist honors at the Hamptons Intercollegiate. He was third at the Inverness Intercollegiate.
At Streamsong, he shot a school-record 20-under, 196 to capture medalist honors. 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 ranked No. 2 in the Golfweek individual standings.
James enters the spring season ranked No. 5 by Golfweek, No. 26 by Golfstat and No. 20 in the current World Amateur Golf Rankings, the 14th highest among American players.
Virginia opens its spring schedule Feb. 5-6 at the Thomas Sharkey Individual tournament. UVA’s first team event is the Dorado Beach Invitational on Feb. 26-28.
This year’s list of 10 semifinalists, which could include individuals not on the watch list, will be unveiled on April 14. That group will be pared down to three finalists on May 4. The finalists will attend a black-tie dinner May 22, at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, where the winner will be crowned.
A selection committee votes during each stage of the process. The selection committee is comprised of more than 30 leaders in collegiate, amateur and professional golf.