Scottish international Ryan Lumsden has won the 2019 Byron Nelson Award - the first Great Britain & Ireland player to receive the coveted prize from the Golf Coaches Association of America.
Lumsden, who is at Northwestern University in Illinois, was selected as this year’s recipient of an award that bears the name of one of the legends of the game on the strength of his entire collegiate academic and golf career.
The selection panel also considered “good citizenship”, something that Nelson, a five-time major winner and sixth on the all-time PGA Tour list with 52 triumphs, was renowned for over the course of his life and golf career.
“I am not bold enough to believe I will ever match Mr Nelson’s achievements on or off the course,” said Lumsden, who was born in London and is a member at Royal Wimbledon but jumped at the chance to represent Scotland through his Edinburgh-born grandparents.
“Indeed, in combining the two, I am not sure anyone ever has. But to be viewed as an individual worthy of the award that carries his names is the greatest honour I could think of as I finish my college career.”
Lumsden has chalked up two victories on the highly-competitive US college circuit, both coming in the Marquette Intercollegiate, while he holds the third-best career stroke average in the Northwestern programme’s history, with former world No 1 Luke Donald being one of those to have performed better.
Off the golf course during his spell at Northwestern, he was involved in a project that saw varsity teams collect over 15,000 food items for local charity while he also helped raise over $53,000 for Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.
In addition, Lumsden and the Northwestern golf team also volunteered at a local golf course in Evanston, helping with course restoration.
“I am so proud of Ryan and the way he represents Northwestern Golf,” said fellow Scot David Inglis, who, in his role as the team’s coach, has become Lumsden’s mentor over the past four years.
“He has really developed into a great golfer but also an outstanding young man. He’s worked hard in university to be an academic All-American, one of the top-ranked players in the world and will leave Northwestern with one of the best careers we’ve ever had.”
On top of his performances on the college circuit, Lumsden qualified for the US Open at Shinnecock Hills last year, when he also represented Scotland in the Eisenhower Trophy at Carton House in Ireland.
Beaten finalist in the 2017 Scottish Amateur Championship at Prestwick, where he lost to Sam Locke in the title showdown, he has also just been named among six Scots in an initial Great Britain & Ireland squad for this year’s Walker Cup.
Lumsden beat with fellow seniors Braden Bailey (Baylor), Nick Ludka (Kalamazoo), Collin Morikawa (Cal) and Brandon Wu (Stanford) to claim the Byron Nelson Award.
It is believed that Lumsden is the first international player to earn the honour since South African Dylan Frittelli, who has gone on to become a two-time winner on the European Tour, picked it up in 2012.