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PGA star Woodland No. 1 on TSN Best of the Best men's golf list

 

By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

There's been a lof tough calls for the No. 1 spot in TopSports.news' Best of the Best Shawnee County Top 25 lists.

Men's golf wasn't one of those.

Shawnee Heights product Gary Woodland all but assured himself of the top spot when he made it on the PGA Tour back in 2007 and the four-time Tour winner cemented that position when he won the 2019 United States Open.

Gary WoodlandGary Woodland [PGA Tour]

Coming off a tie for seventh last week, the former basketball All-Stater and two-time Class 5A state champ for the T-Birds, is currently 45th on the PGA Tour's all-time career money list with more than $29 million in career earnings.

But while the 37-year-old Woodland is the unquestioned headliner, the TSN Top 25 list is loaded with other county stars who have carved out their own niche in the game.

AndrewBeckleraction 2Andrew Beckler [Washburn Athletics]

 Justice ValdiviaJustice Valdivia

Former Washburn Rural state champ Andrew Beckler, who received the 2021 Jack Nicklaus Award as the NCAA Division II Player of the Year holds down the No. 2 spot on the Top 25 local legends Frank Rose and Bill McDonald sit in the next two spots, followed by former Rural two-time state champion Parker Beal and multi-sport Silver Lake product Mark Elliott.

Three-time Washburn University All-American Matt Ewald and local stars Ben Moser, Bill Mosimann and Gary Lucas round out the top 10.

Former Hayden state star Justice Valdivia, a state individual and team champ and multi-time All-MIAA honoree topped Woodland for the Readers Choice award, with former Rossville state champ and four-time state medalist Garrett Donovan earning the third spot in reader votes. 

 Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST MEN'S GOLFERS

1. Gary Woodland  -- Woodland captured the 2019 U.S. Open championship and is a four-time winner on the PGA Tour and No. 45 on the Tour's all-time money list with over $29 million in earnings. The Shawnee Heights graduate starred for the T-Birds in golf and basketball, leading Heights to a pair of Class 5A state basketball titles and earning All-Stae honors, and played basketball as a freshman for Washburn University before transferring to Kansas and focusing on golf. 

2. Andrew Beckler  -- Beckler was a 6A individual and team champion for Washburn Rural and went on to earn All-America honors at Washburn University, where he received the Jack Nicklaus Award as the NCAA Division II National Player of the Year earlier this year and was the MIAA Player of the Year as well as a consensus All-American.

3. Frank Rose -- Rose won five Kansas Amateur championships in eight years over a dominating run from 1971 to '78. Rose also won the Nebraska Amateur in 1986 and is a member of the Kansas Golf Association Hall of Fame.

4. Bill McDonald  -- A Topeka West graduate, McDonald earned NAIA All-American honors for Washburn University before going on to win more than a dozen Michigan and USGA amateur championships.

5. Parker Beal -- Beal won a pair of 6A individual state championships for Washburn Rural and was a four-year medalist from 2015 to '18, never finishing lower than seventh. Beal helped the Junior Blues win a team title in '15 and was also a part of teams that placed second and third.

6. Mark Elliott -- A multi-sport star at Silver Lake and Washburn University, Elliott has four Topeka Golf Association City Stroke Play championships as well as a pair of City Match Play titles. Elliott played minor league baseball as well as quarterback at WU.

7. Matt Ewald -- Ewald was a three-time All-American and four-time All-MIAA honoree at Washburn University and has also captured a Topeka Golf Association City Stroke Play title. Ewald was inducted into the Washburn Hall of Fame in 2019.

8. Ben Moser -- A standout at Washburn Rural and Washburn University, Moser has come into his own in city amateur events, winning three Topeka Golf Association City Match Play titles as well as a pair of City Stroke Play championships.

9. Bill Mosimann -- Mosimann won the 1996 Mid-Amateur championship at Topeka Country and was a long-time contender on the city and state scene.

10. Gary Lucas -- Lucas, who played collegiately at Wichita State, has been a star in city and state amateur events, including a Topeka Golf Association City Stroke Play championship and City Champions Stroke Play and Two-Man titles in '17 and '18.

11. Steve Gomez -- Gomez (Highland Park) was the two-time Jayhawk Conference Player of the Year before playing at Tulsa. Gomez went on to become a dominant player in city competition, winning numerous city titles.

12. C.C. Metzler --  Metzler has won Topeka Golf Association City Stroke Play,City Match Play, Two-Man, Four-Man and City Champions Stroke Play championships.

13. Dave Carson -- A longtime city star, Carson has been dominant in Topeka Golf Association Champions events, winning three straight Champions Stroke Play titles from 2014-'16 and winning that title again in '20.

14. Chuck Norris -- A long-time contender in city events, Norris may be best known for setting the course record at Lake Shawnee Golf Course in 1987 with a 61.

15. Thad Wellshear -- Wellshear was a top amateur in Topeka, winning Topeka Golf Association City Stroke Play and City Match Play championships.

16. Garth Wellshear -- Wellshear was a consistent contender in city amateur tournaments, including winning a Topeka Golf Association City Stroke Play championship.

17. Doug Hamilton -- Hamilton captured a pair of Topeka Golf Association City Match Play championships as well as earning runner-up honors.

18. Mac McFarland  -- McFarland was a 4A state champion as a high school golfer for Hayden and has won Topeka Golf Association City Stroke Play and City Match Play championships. Earlier this year, Mac McFarland — the 2019 Player of the Year — completed his TGA grand slam with his victory in the City Match Play, adding to his previous titles in the City Stroke, Two-Man and Four-Man.

19. Chris McGown -- McGown has been a star on the city amateur circuit, including three Topeka Golf Association City Match Play championships. 

20. Chris Stuke -- Stuke has won a Topeka Golf Association City Stroke Play championship as well as a City Match Play title.

21. Justice Valdivia -- Valdivia captured a 4A state individual championship for state team champ Hayden in 2011 when he shot a 68 at state and was a three-time medalist. He was a two-time All-MIAA pick for Pittsburg State before transferring to Washburn. 

22. John Newcomer -- Newcomer was a 4A state individual champion for state champion Hayden in 2001 and was a four-time medalist for the Wildcats, with a pair of fouth-place finishes and a sixth before going on to play at Kansas.

23. Brandon Falley -- .Falley won the 2008 4A state individual championship for Hayden while leading the Wildcats to the team title. Falley also medaled in '07 as Hayden finished second as a team and went on to play at Creighton.

24. Garrett Donovan -- The former Rossville star was a four-time state medalist from 1997-'00, including the 2A-1A state title, a runner-up finish in 2A-1A and a third-place finish in 3A.

25. Lucas McCalla -- McCalla placed fifth in 2015 for Washburn Rural's 6A state championship team and placed seventh in '16 and 18th in '14 for Junior Blue teams that finished second at state.

READERS CHOICE AWARDS

1. Justice Valdivia -- No. 21 in TSN Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

2. Gary Woodland -- No. 1 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

3. Garrett Donavan -- No. 24 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

4. (tie) Andrew Beckler -- No. 2 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

4. (tie) Gary Lucas -- No. 10 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

4. (tie) Mac McFarland --  No. 18 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

7. (tie) Steve Gomez -- No. 11 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

7. (tie) Thad Wellshear -- No. 15 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

9. Five tied for ninth.

Next up: Women's soccer Top 25 Best of the Best and Readers Choice Awards.