FORT WORTH, Texas - Florida Southern freshman John VanDerLaan has been named as one of five finalists on Monday for the 2015 Division II Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award presented by Barbasol.
VanDerLaan, who is a native of Southbury, Conn., is one four players from the Sunshine State Conference named as a finalist for the prestigious award, which will be presnted by Jack Nicklaus at a ceremony during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at Muirfield Village Golf Club, which is scheduled for June 4-7.
The other finalists for the award from Division II are Lynn sophomore Mateo Gomez, Nova Southeastern junior Santiago Gomez, Nova Southeastern sophomore Richard Mansell and Southern Nazarene senior Michael Hearne.
Nicklaus, a Big Ten and NCAA Champion at The Ohio State University, helped inspire and create the Jack Nicklaus Awards in 1988.
VanDerLaan, who is a native of Southbury, Conn., was named as a finalist for the Division II Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award after earning SSC Freshman of the Year honors and earning Second-Team All-SSC honors. On the season, VanDerLaan recorded a season scoring average of 72.14 in 10 tournaments and 29 rounds of golf and had five Top 10 finishes, including taking home medalist honors at both the McDonough Cup hosted by Rollins during the fall campaign and at the SSC Championships at RedTail Golf Club in Sorrento, Fla. VanDerLaan, who was the Mocs top finisher in three tournaments, including the team's last two events, has had 14 rounds of par or better and shot a season low round of 67 in the first round of the Matlock Collegiate Classic, the first round of the SSC Championships and in the final round of the South/Southeast Super Regional heading into the Division II National Championships.
Lynn's Gomez was named a finalist for the Nicklaus Player of the Year accolade by logging four Top 10 finishes in seven events heading into the Division II National Championships. On the season, Gomez, who joined the Fighting Knights in January, leads Lynn with a 72.24 stroke average. The Cali, Colombia, native won the first tournament he participated in, the Titan Winter Invitational.
Nova's Gomez was named a finalist for the Nicklaus Player of the Year after earning SSC Player of the Year honors. On the season, the Armeina, Colombia, native has not finished outside the Top 5 in 10 events this season for the top-ranked Sharks heading into the NCAA Division II National Championships. He has carded two runner-up finishes and placed third three times and leads Division II with a 70.64 scoring average.
Mansell was selected as a finalist for the Nicklaus Player of the Year after earning First-Team All-SSC honors. On the season, he posted three tournament wins and finished inside the Top 5 three additional times and finished outside the Top 10 twice in 11 events for the top-ranked Sharks.
Hearne was named a finalist for the Nicklaus Player of the Year honor after being selected the Great American Conference Player of the Year. On the season, Hearne, who earned a spot in the Division II National Championships as an individual qualifier, did not finish lower than fifth in any tournament he played this season. He finished second three times, third four times and fourth once. The senior recorded a 71.70 scoring average and has five rounds in the 60s this year.
Click here for the complete release from the GCAA about the Nicklaus Award finalists