Newberry duo named National Player of the Year semifinalists

Staff Report
Carlos Leandro and Spencer Skiff are among 25 semifinalists nationwide. - Courtesy photo

NORMAN, Okla. — Seniors Carlos Leandro and Spencer Skiff are both among the 25 semifinalists for the Division II Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award presented by Barbasol.

Newberry joins West Florida, Florida Southern, Lynn, USC Aiken, Limestone, and Florida Tech as schools with multiple players in consideration for the award. Finalists will be announced on May 17, with the Player of the Year revealed on May 31.

The pair led the Wolves, ranked eighth by Golfstat and ninth in the latest coaches’ poll, to an NCAA Regional selection for the second consecutive season and were both named first team all-South Atlantic Conference. Newberry tied its own conference record by finishing fifth at last year’s NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championships, with Leandro earned a Second Team All-America nod by finishing 10th in the stroke play portion of the tournament.

Leandro was named the SAC Golfer of the Year and is currently ranked 14th nationally by Golfstat He has finished in the top 10 in seven of Newberry’s nine tournaments this season. He was the individual medalist at the season-opening UNG Fall Invitational, helping Newberry to a five-stroke victory, and tied for the win with a Charleston Southern golfer at the Bash at the Beach, a Division I tournament.

Twice this spring, the senior has given Newberry a one-stroke win on the final hole. His par on the 18th hole gave Newberry a win at the Bash at the Beach. One week later at The Southeastern, a tournament that featured each of the top 11 teams in the country, Leandro again parred the final hole to lift Newberry to a one-stroke win over No. 1 West Florida that allowed the Wolves to move into third in the Golfstat relative rankings, a program record.

Leandro has helped the Wolves to a school-record five team wins this season. Fifteen of Leandro’s 26 rounds this season have been at or below par and he has an .885 win-loss percentage.

The Aljaraque, Spain native has a career stroke average of 72.50, currently edging out former Newberry standout Daniel Stanley for the lowest in SAC history. His 71.85 stroke average this season is the fourth-lowest in conference history and the second-lowest by a Newberry golfer since computerized records began in the fall of 2005.

Skiff was named a first team all-conference performer for the second straight season. He is ranked No. 16 in Division II by Golfstat, finishing inside the top 15 of each of Newberry’s nine tournaments and not landing outside the top eight since Oct. 24.

Skiff’s win-loss percentage is .923 after playing 16 of 26 rounds this season below par. He has three top-fives and seven top-10s, finishing four tournaments at or below par and three others at two-over or better.

The Aiken product had his best showing in a third-place finish at the Donald Ross Intercollegiate in October, helping Newberry to place three golfers in the top four individual finishers and a 29-stroke margin of victory. His season 72.04 stroke average and career 73.47 average are both third in Newberry history, with his career mark currently fifth in the SAC record books.

Nicklaus Award recipients will be announced May 31 with the honor presented by Jack Nicklaus at a ceremony during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide at Muirfield Village Golf Club. In addition to receiving the Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award, the five recipients will compete in the Barbasol Shootout for an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s Barbasol Championship, held July 16-22, at the Champions at Keene Trace in Lexington, Kentucky. The Barbasol Shootout will be held Saturday, June 2 at the storied Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio – the same club where Jack Nicklaus first learned the game of golf as a young boy.

Carlos Leandro and Spencer Skiff are among 25 semifinalists nationwide. Leandro and Spencer Skiff are among 25 semifinalists nationwide. Courtesy photo

Staff Report