DUBLIN, Ohio – Guilford College’s Noah Ratner (Asheville, N.C./Asheville) was one of five students honored Sunday with the 2012 Jack Nicklaus Award, presented by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) to the nation’s top golfer. He is the first Guilford student so honored.
Ratner was recognized as the top player in NCAA Division III. He was joined Sunday by fellow honorees Justin Thomas (University of Alabama – NCAA Division I), Ben Taylor (Nova Southeastern University – NCAA Division II), Nathan Anderson (Texas Wesleyan University – NAIA) and Jimmy Kozikowski (South Mountain Community College – NJCAA). Since 1988, the award for the GCAA Collegiate Players of the Year has been named after Jack Nicklaus, a Big Ten Conference and NCAA Champion at The Ohio State University.
As in years past, Nicklaus recognized the 2012 recipients during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, just outside of Nicklaus’ hometown of Columbus.
Ratner recently concluded one of the greatest seasons in Guilford College’s lengthy and successful golf history. The junior received PING First Team All-America recognition for the second straight season, joining a list of nine other Quakers’ golfers lauded as first-team All-Americans. He spent most of the year atop the Golfstat.com NCAA Division III Head-to-Head Player Standings and edged out national medalist Anthony Maccaglia of Oglethorpe University in the final ratings. Ratner tied a Guilford record with four medalist honors, the first of his career, and recorded a 72.73 season stroke average, the second-best figure in school history.
Ratner started his memorable campaign by winning the season’s first three tournaments. He shot three-under-par 213, the 10th-lowest 54-hole score in school history, for a three-stroke win at the 92-man Gordin DIII Preview Sept. 27. The junior returned to Florida two weeks later and blistered the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort with a nine-under 204 that shattered the school standard and earned a three-stroke win in the 90-man field. Sparked by a career-low 65, Ratner claimed his third straight medalist honor Oct. 25 with a one-over 141 at the 89-man O’Briant- Jensen Memorial at the Cardinal Golf and Country Club. Ratner helped coach Corey Maggard’s Quakers to two fall victories and top rankings in both the Golfstat.com and Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches’ ratings.
Ratner opened the spring season by collecting his second career runner-up honor, at the Pine Needles Intercollegiate Feb. 28. He returned to his winning ways two weeks later and led the Quakers to their fourth team title of the season at the Taylor Made-Adidas Invitational at the Dataw Island Club in South Carolina. Ratner withstood the challenging conditions to shoot 231, five strokes better than teammate Mitch Robinette in the 50-man field. He concluded his season with four top-13 finishes, including a 12th-place finish at the NCAA Division III Championships that helped the Quakers place 11th among 41 teams.
In addition to his All-America honor, Ratner earned PING First Team All-South laurels for the second straight season and became the Quakers’ fourth two-time Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Golfer of the Year. He collected four more ODAC Golfer of the Week Awards this year to raise his career total to 10. Ratner takes a 73.56 career stroke average into his senior season.
Guilford earned five team titles this season, including its league record-tying 12th ODAC crown. The Quakers ranked fifth in the final Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches’ Poll and eighth in the Golfstat.com ratings.