India Named Big Ten Player of the Year

May 2, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Big Ten Conference announced the 2011 all-Big Ten awards today, with senior Vince India earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors. India and fellow senior Brad Hopfinger were named first team all-Big Ten, while junior Chris Brant was a second team all-Big Ten selection.

This season marks the first time since 1996 that an Iowa golfer has earned all-conference accolades. The last time Iowa had three players earn all-Big Ten honors was the 1992 season.

India, a native of Deerfield, Ill., was named Big Ten Player of the Year after putting together the best individual season in Hawkeye men’s golf history. India became just the second golfer in school history to win the prestigious Les Bolstad Trophy, awarded by the Big Ten Conference at the end of the season to the male golfer who records the lowest stroke average during the season (fall and spring). India’s 71.08 stroke average is the ninth-lowest in the trophy’s history, dating back to 1974.

India captured first place in three different tournaments as a senior, winning the Golfweek Conference Challenge, the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate and the Hawkeye-Taylormade Invitational. He is just the third player in school history to win three or more tournaments in a single season.

India has played in nine stroke-play tournaments this year and has finished in the top-15 in every competition, including eight top-10 finishes.

He is just the second player in school history to be named Big Ten Player of the Year, joining Brad Klapprott, who won the award in 1992.

“This is the top golf award in our conference and Vince, without a doubt, deserves this award,” Head Coach Mark Hankins said. “His individual season has been amazing and his consistency is a direct result of his tournament by tournament approach. I am proud of his progress and for him to see the much deserved accolades as a result of his work.”

Hopfinger recorded five-straight top-20 finishes in the fall, including top-10 marks in each of the last three tournaments. He finished tied for third at the Fighting Irish Classic with a three-round total of 209 (-1), tied for second at the Rod Meyers/Duke Invitational with a score of 212 (-4) and tied for seventh at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate with a two-round total of 137 (-5).

The Lake Forest, Ill., finished tied for 10th at the Hawkeye-Taylormade Invitational and tied for 14th at the Robert Kepler Invitational in Columbus, Ohio. Hopfinger is coming off a T17 finish at the Big Ten Championships.

“Brad has had an outstanding year with top finishes against the best individuals and teams in the country,” Hankins said. “He prepared well all season and gives you everything at each and every event.”

Brant made his presence known in the conference with an impressive performance at the Big Ten Championships last weekend. Brant held the lead for the first two rounds before finishing runner-up by one stroke to Illinois’ Luke Guthrie. Brant and Guthrie were the only two players in the 54-man field at the Big Ten Championships to finish even par or better.

“Chris continues to grow his golf skills and in his confidence to be the best,” Hankins said. “He has had a few breakout tournaments this season that are a direct result of his increased preparation and commitment to winning.”

The Big Ten men’s golf coaches elected to use a new system to choose all-Big Ten awards this season. The top 12 athletes in the conference were chosen by finding their average national ranking according to and Golfweek. The top six players landed on the first team, while the next six were named second team.

India topped all Big Ten golfers with an average ranking of 10.5. Hopfinger’s average ranking came in at 73.5, while Brant’s average was 80.5.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our guys and our top notch season from start to finish,” Hankins added. “I challenged them at the end of last season and outlined the ways that you achieve such goals. They put in the hard work, competed each and every tournament and are now receiving deserved accolades.”

India and Hopfinger were joined on the first team by Scott Langley and Guthrie of Illinois, David Lipsky of Northwestern and Bo Hoag of Ohio State.

Brant, along with Chris DeForest of Illinois, David Erdy of Indiana, Lion Kim of Michigan, Donald constable of Minnesota and Brad Smith of Ohio State made up the second team.

Illinois’ Mike Small was named Big Ten Coach of the Year, while Purdue’s Adam Schenk was chosen as Big Ten Freshman of the Year.