Matthew NeSmith of North Augusta, S.C., was named the
boys’ Rolex Junior Player of the Year, the American Junior Golf Association
announced Wednesday, Oct. 17.
Introduced by the AJGA in 1978, the Rolex Junior
Player of the Year award recognizes one boy and one girl who had the most
outstanding year in junior golf events at the national level. Past recipients
have gone on to become some of the most esteemed players on the PGA and LPGA Tours,
including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Charles Howell III, Hunter Mahan, Scott
Verplank, Cristie Kerr, Inbee Park, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
19, is the second South Carolina native to be named Rolex Junior Player of the
Year, one year after Cody Proveaux became the first. He won four of the five
individual junior tournaments he played in and spent the final nine weeks of
his junior career ranked No. 1 in the Polo Golf Rankings.
during the past season will be heralded Nov. 18 during the Rolex Junior
All-America Awards Banquet at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach
Gardens, Fla. The awards ceremony, dubbed “The Greatest Night in Junior Golf,”
will also trumpet the achievements of the rest of golf’s next generation by
means of the Rolex Junior All-America Teams, HP Scholastic Junior All-America
Teams and Jerry Cole Sportsmanship Award.
About Matthew NeSmith’s 2012 season
NeSmith, 19, won four junior tournaments, three of which
were AJGA Invitationals, and spent the final nine weeks of his junior career
atop the Polo Golf Rankings. In all, he won four of the five individual junior
tournaments he played in, with each victory adding momentum toward the crowning
achievement of his junior career.
As the No. 23 seed after stroke play at the Polo Golf
Junior Classic in November 2011, NeSmith defeated Rolex Junior All-Americans in
each of his five matches en route to his first Invitational win. A month later,
he won the Jones Cup Junior Invitational, and with the victory came an
invitation to the 2012 Jones Cup Invitational. In June, he earned a sponsor’s
exemption into the PGA TOUR’s Wyndham Championship after he was victorious at
the FJ Invitational.
A win at the AJGA’s flagship event, the Rolex
Tournament of Champions, proved to be a landmark achievement in his final AJGA
stroke play event. The victory not only propelled him to No. 1 in the Polo Golf
Rankings, but he also became the first boy to win the AJGA’s two oldest events
(Rolex Tournament of Champions and the Polo Golf Junior Classic) in the same
He closed his junior career at Wyndham Cup, where he
posted a 2-2-0 match play record and helped the East Team retain the Cup for
the second straight year. In two appearances, NeSmith compiled a 6-2-0 record
at the AJGA’s team match play event.
He is currently a freshman at the University of South
Carolina and has played in each of the Gamecocks’ first three tournaments.
Matthew NeSmith – 2012 season results
Junior tournaments (ranked in Polo Golf
|1st||*Polo Golf Junior Classic||70-76–146 (stroke play score); won five matches for title|
|1st||Jones Cup Junior Invitational (2011)||69-69-70–208|
|T32||*HP Boys Championship at Carlton Woods||72-79-76–227|
|1st||*Rolex Tournament of Champions||68-67-66-70–271|
| ||*Wyndham Cup||2-2-0 record (6-2-0 career)|