Talk about a few days to cherish. First Callum Bruce was picking up an award from Jack Nicklaus for the second year in a row, then he wins a shoot-out for a spot in a PGA Tour event next month.
The Duff House Royal member has become only the second person to win the Jack Nicklaus Award at NJCAA level on the US college circuit, having recorded five victories in his sophomore year at Midland College in Texas.
The pick of those successes came in the NJCAA Division 1 National Championship as he shot a 17-under-par total and was the only player in the 122-strong field to shoot four rounds in the 60s at Durban Golf Club in Florida.
That sparkling effort helped Bruce, who was the leading qualifier in the Scottish Amateur Championship at Blairgowrie last year, top the NJCAA standings with a scoring average of 68.85 in 34 rounds during the past season.
Banff man Bruce, who has been recruited by San Diego State after wrapping up his career at Midland College, received his prize from Nicklaus as the 18-time major winner hosted the Memorial Tournament on the PGA Tour at Muirfield Village in his native Ohio last week.
Buoyed by that success, he then won an 18-hole shootout at Ohio State University Golf Club involving all the Nicklaus Award winners for a spot in the Barbasol Championship, which takes place on the PGA Tour in Kentucky the same week as the Open Championship at Royal Portrush.
Before then, Bruce will be spending some time at home, with a couple of big events to start with on his summer schedule on this side of the Atlantic. He is in the field for the St Andrews Links Trophy, which starts on Friday, then heads over the Irish Sea for the Amateur Championship at Portmarnock the week after next.
Dean Robertson and Andrew Coltart both used spells at Midland College as a springboard to become European Tour winners.
Bruce grabbed the chance to get a photograph with the latter as he attended the Memorial Tournament as a member of the Sky Sports commentary team.
Eight years after he landed the Nicklaus Award as the best collegiate player in the US, Patrick Cantlay admitted that heeding some advice from the game’s greatest player had helped him win the Memorial Tournament on Sunday. The 27-year-old closed with a sparkling 64 to win by two shots with a 19-under-par 269 total, claiming his second PGA Tour title by two shots from Australian Adam Scott, with overnight leader Martin Kaymer two further back in third.
Referring to Nicklaus, Cantley, who played in the 2011 Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen along with Jordan Spieth, said: “I was having lunch after the early-morning round on Friday, and he grabbed me aside and said ‘you need to go out there, have a good time. Look around when you’re out there. Look at all the people having a great time. And then you need to have a great time and realise that that’s why you’re there and relax and go have fun and go win the golf tournament’.
“And I definitely said that to myself down the stretch today on the back nine. It put me a little more at ease, and I hit a lot of really nice quality shots with the lead, coming down the stretch.”
Nicklaus, who was at the side of the 18th green to greet Cantley after he’d holed the winning putt, admitted: “He reminds me a lot of me. I get so wrapped up in what I’m doing I forget about everything else that’s going on around me. And I sit there and say, you know, if I can help them, pass that along, maybe it will help them. And if it did, that’s great. If it didn’t, it didn’t make any difference, he won a golf tournament, either way.”