For our next installment in our Mt. Rushmore series, we head off grounds and over to Birdwood Golf Course and check out the legends of Virginia Men’s Golf.
Simon Cooke (1993-1996) - Simon Cooke laid his mark as one of the best regular season golfers in Virginia golf history. Ranking second all-time in career wins with five, Cooke was the first Virginia golfer named ACC Player of the Year when he won the honor in 1996 and was a three time All-ACC selection. Nationally, Cooke excelled in his final three years in Charlottesville earning GCAA/PING All-American honors three times including a second team selection in 1995.
Ben Kohles (2008-2012) - If this list were to be in an order other than chronological by when they played, Ben Kohles would likely be at the top. Kohles won ACC player of the year twice (2010 and 2011) and was named All-ACC three times. He is the all-time program leader in wins and is tied for the lead in top-tens over his career. He was a three-time GCAA/PING All-American and earned second team honors in 2012. While never making an impact at the NCAA finals, Kohles did pace the Cavaliers at the 2012 NCAA Regional, coming in with a second place performance.
Denny McCarthy (2011-2015) - If Kohles is number one on this mountain, you could make a pretty compelling argument that Denny McCarthy is a close second. The program’s only four time All-ACC selection, McCarthy picked up right where Kohles left off leading a resurgence in UVA golf. Also a three time GCAA/PING All-American, McCarthy had a bit more success in the postseason than Cooke and Kohles. He finished inside the top-30 twice at the NCAA finals highlighted by a sixth place finish in 2014. It was the highest finish by a Virginia golfer in the modern era bested in program history only by Dixon Brooke’s National Championship in 1940.
Jimmy Stanger (2014-2017) - If Cooke and Kohles earned their way onto this mountain based on their career achievements, it’s only fitting to recognize Jimmy Stanger who put forth possibly the best single year of any Cavalier. In 2017 he led the team in stroke average and was third in the ACC in that category before he went on to win the ACC Championship making him one of only four Cavaliers to achieve that feat. He stayed hot finishing the season in tenth at the NCAA Championships. For his efforts he became the first and only Cavalier to be named First Team All-American by GCAA/PING. While his 2017 campaign was no doubt his finest season, he did earn All-ACC honors twice and was an Academic All-ACC selection three times.
Others condidered: Dixon Brooke, Lewis Chitengwa, James Driscoll, Steve Marino, Derek Bard, Thomas Walsh
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