TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama freshman Justin Thomas was selected as the winner of the 2012 Haskins Award, an honor reserved for the nation's top collegiate golfer, the Haskins Commission announced on Thursday.
Thomas, a native of Goshen, Ky., is the first Crimson Tide golfer to win the Haskins Award. He also captured the Jack Nicklaus Award, which goes to the National Player of the Year by the Golf Coaches Association of America.
"Coming into the year, I felt like I was good enough to compete but no one expects to win four times as a freshman," said Thomas. "Awards take care of themselves. You don't think about such things when you're out on the course. When I got the call that I was the winner of the Haskins, I didn't know what to say."
For the first time, the Haskins winner will receive an exemption into PGA Tour's The Greenbrier Classic, which will be held July 2-8 on one of the nation's most storied golf courses, The Old White TPC Course at The Greenbrier. Thomas will receive the award July 2 at a dinner sponsored by Stifel Nicolaus, Golfweek and The Greenbrier.
Thomas, a first-team All-American, won four times in his rookie season at the Capstone and set the school scoring record with a 70.44 average that was .89 strokes below par over 36 rounds in 2011-12. He fired 25 rounds of par or better as a freshman and carded rounds in the 60s on 14 occasions.
His low round of the season came in the final round of the year's first event, the Carpet Capital Collegiate, where is 7-under 65 on Sunday was enough for a come-from-behind win. He also captured the spring's first event, the Puerto Rico Classic, with a 10-under-par total of 206. Thomas' low 54-hole total in relation to par was a 12-under showing at the Schenkel Invitational where he tied for third.
His low 54-hole score was a 7-under-par 203 at the SEC Championship where he became just the third Alabama player to capture medalist honors. Thomas led the Tide to a team victory as well at SEC and followed it with medalist and team honors at the NCAA Athens Regional He edged teammate Bobby Wyatt by one shot at 9-under-par 204 as the team ran away with a 25-stroke victory.
Thomas tied for seventh in the stroke-play portion of the NCAA Championships at even-par 213 at the famed Riviera Country Club. Then in match play, he won his opening round match against Kent State.
Thomas was also won the Phil Mickelson Award, which goes to the nation's top freshman. He was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year while garnering All-Region and All-SEC honors.
Along with scoring average, Thomas set Alabama single-season records for victories (four), winning percentage (91.5 percent) and counting scores (35).