UF Men’s Golf: Castillo Named Ben Hogan Award Finalist

Courtesy of UF Athletic Association

Freshman Ricky Castillo is one of three finalists for the prestigious award.

Florida men’s golf freshman Ricky Castillo has been tabbed as a finalist for the Ben Hogan Award, the Hogan Trophy Award Foundation, Friends of Golf (FOG), and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) announced Tuesday.

Castillo becomes the second Florida golfer to be named an award finalist, joining 2006 Ben Hogan Award winner Matt Every.

Along with Castillo, Vanderbilt senior John Augenstein and Pepperdine redshirt senior Sahith Theegala are also finalists. All three are first-time finalists for the award, which is given annually to the top men’s college golfer, taking into account all collegiate and amateur competitions over the past 12 months. This year’s season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that all tournaments played between May 21, 2019, and March 12, 2020, were considered.

“It is a real honor to be a finalist for one of the most prestigious awards in amateur golf,” said Castillo. “I am so excited that I am able to represent the Gators.”

Castillo is ranked second in both the World Amateur Golf Ranking and Golfweek/Sagarin ranking. Additionally, Castillo is listed ninth in Golfstat’s Division I Player Rankings and 15th in the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking. He earned a spot on the United States’ 2020 Palmer Cup team.
Last summer, Castillo reached the round of 16 at the 2019 U.S. Amateur after tying for second place during the medal portion of the event, and he also was a Western Amateur semifinalist. The native of Yorba Linda, Calif., made the quarterfinals of the North and South Amateur after claiming medalist honors in stroke play. He also placed among the top 10 at the Australian Master of the Amateurs.

In college play, Castillo was outstanding for the Gators. Over his 21 rounds played, Castillo posted the lowest single-season scoring average in program history at 70.08. He finished inside the top 25 individually in every event, with all 21 of his rounds included in the Gators’ counting scores.
Additionally, Castillo opened the spring with back-to-back individual titles, claiming the crown at the Sea Best Invitational and VyStar Gators Invitational by a combined 11 strokes. He then followed those performances with an impressive 5-under 211 at Southern Highlands Collegiate to tie for sixth. Through his nine rounds of the spring, Castillo shot a collective 26 under with a scoring average of 67.78.

The Ben Hogan Trophy was first issued by FOG in 1990 at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles and also included academic achievement in its original list of standards. In 2002, the Ben Hogan Award moved to Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, Hogan’s hometown and the site of five of his PGA TOUR victories. At that time, it revised its criteria to its current standard of honoring the outstanding amateur and collegiate golfer.

The selection committee is made up of 30 leaders and experts in amateur, college, and professional golf. The recipient will be named next month. Due to the pandemic, the 2020 dinner will not be held. The 2020 recipient will earn an invitation to the 2021 Charles Schwab Challenge.

JC Deacon, Head Coach
“What a unique honor for Ricky Castillo and the University of Florida. The Hogan Award celebrates the best of the best in college golf. To be a finalist shows you how special Ricky’s year really was. I’m proud of the growth he’s had at Florida and cannot wait to see what his future holds.”