Former Heritage High golfer Ben Rebne was named as the 2020 Jack Nicklaus Award winner for NAIA, signifying the Player of the Year in the organization.

Former Heritage High School golfer Ben Rebne may have seen his senior season at Dalton State cut short due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but he added another award to his trophy case earlier this month when he was named as the NAIA’s 2020 Jack Nicklaus Award recipient.

Rebne becomes the third Roadrunner to win the prestigious award following Sean Elliott in 2015 and S.M. Lee in 2017 and 2018.

With four all-time Nicklaus Award wins, Dalton State ranks second in a tie with Arizona State and Georgia Tech on the all-time list. Oklahoma State currently has the most Jack Nicklaus Award winners with five.

The award is named for Nicklaus, a Big Ten and NCAA champion at Ohio State University, and was created in 1988. It is presented annually to the National Player of the Year in NCAA Divisions I, II and III, as well as the NAIA and the NJCAA. Past winners include PGA stars Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Justin Thomas.

The Ringgold native posted a scoring average of 70.89 during his senior campaign and finished the season ranked third in the final NAIA Golfstat Rankings. Rebne won four individual titles, posted five top-five finishes and never finished outside the top 10 in any of the six events he played, while helping DSC climb as high as No. 6 in the NAIA national polls.

The Southern States Athletic Conference Player of the Year earned PING first team All-American honors with his four wins in six events played. He finished seven of his 18 rounds under 70, had eight rounds under par and was at par or better 13 times. His season-best came in the first round of the Memphis Shootout, where he carded a 66.

Rebne was the SSAC individual conference champion and its Player of the Year in 2019, as well as a first team NAIA All-American, a PING Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) first team All-American, a PING GCAA All-Region Team selection and a Jack Nicklaus Award semifinalist.

A four-time SSAC All-Conference Team performer, Rebne was named SSAC Player of the Week six times in his college career.

Another Heritage alum, Sport Allmond, was named to the PING All-American second team by the GCAA, along with DSC teammate Matthew Cleary (Southeast Whitfield). Allmond was also recently named as the 2019-2020 SSAC Men’s Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the league office.

Allmond, a senior BBA Management Information Systems major, has a 3.78 GPA and was an All-Conference selection with a 73.94 stroke average, two top-five finishes and three top-10 placements.

Rebne records top 10 at Georgia Amateur

Rebne finished in a three-way tie for sixth place in the 99th Georgia Amateur Championship at the Highlands Course at the Atlanta Athletic Club on the weekend of July 12. He carded scores of 73 and 74 to make the cut before a shooting 71 in the final round.

Ringgold High alum and current Coastal Carolina golfer, Gavin Noble, also participated in the tournament. He made the cut with a 79 and a 73 in his first two rounds, but fell off the pace with an 87 on the final day.

A playoff was needed to determine the winner and Georgia Tech golfer Luke Schniederjans of Alpharetta became the 10th Yellow Jacket golfer to the win the Georgia Amateur title. He entered the final day three strokes behind the leader, but shot a 71 to finish at even-par 213 for the tournament.

Brett Barron of Suwanee, the 2018 Georgia Amateur champion, got a birdie on No. 18 to force a playoff, but Schniederjans recorded a birdie on the par-5 18th hole to claim victory.

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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