May 11, 2010
LAS VEGAS - UNLV sophomore Derek Ernst has been selected as the Mountain West Conference Men’s Golfer of the Year, the league announced Tuesday.
Along with Ernst, sophomore Colby Smith was also named to the all-conference squad. The awards were decided by a vote among the nine league head coaches.
Ernst, a Clovis, Calif., native, became the first Rebel golfer to win conference player of the year honors since Ryan Moore won back-to-back in 2004-05. Ernst also became the sixth UNLV men’s golfer to earn his league’s player of the year award. Overall, the award has been given to UNLV golfers 10 times in the last 20 years.
Ernst, who was named the MWC’s Golfer of the Month for September (earned Co-Golfer of the Month), October/November and for February, currently ranks 20th nationally, according to the GolfStat Cup Standings, and leads the MWC with a 71.06 stroke average. He has recorded seven top-10 finishes this season, including five top-fives and two individual titles. Ernst is the third UNLV golfer to garner the award since the formation of the MWC in 1999.
“I am very pleased that Derek has been recognized as the conference’s player of the year,” UNLV head men’s golf coach Dwaine Knight said. “He has had a very impressive year from start to finish. He moved into our No. 1 spot right at the beginning of the year and held it throughout, and has played up to that level, which is really impressive for a sophomore. He has a chance to be mentioned up there with some of the other winners of this award we have had such as Ryan (Moore), Jeremy (Anderson) and others.”
Ernst has played in all 12 of UNLV’s events this season, helping the 12th-ranked Rebels to four team titles and a total of eight top-three finishes. The four wins for the team are the most in a season since the 1998-99 squad won five events. In 31 total rounds, Ernst recorded 16 at under par and five more at even par.
Ernst also recorded UNLV’s low individual tournament of the season with a 10-under score of 206 at the Burns Intercollegiate, where he finished in second place. He tallied 11 rounds in the 60s.
Smith, who is from Auburn, Calif., was second on the team in scoring average at 72.03 as he also competed in all 12 events for UNLV. He turned in six top-20 finishes, including two top-10s and a top-five. He recorded 17 of his 31 rounds at par or better (10 rounds under par) and recorded UNLV’s low individual round of the season with an 8-under 64 at the Tucker Invitational.
“I am also very happy for Colby,” Knight said. “He played that No. 2 spot for us for a lot of the season, which is also impressive for being a sophomore. For him to get honored is really special too.”
John Catlin of New Mexico was named the MWC Freshman of the Year, while Coach of the Year honors went to Jamie Bermel of Colorado State.
UNLV has been awarded the No. 2 seed at the NCAA’s San Diego Regional, which will be played at Carlton Oaks Golf Club in San Diego, Calif., beginning Thursday, May 20.
2009-10 MWC Men’s Golf Awards
Golfer of the Year
Derek Ernst, So., UNLV
Freshman of the Year
John Catlin, New Mexico
Coach of the Year
Jamie Bermel, Colorado State
Tom Whitney, Sr., Air Force
Robbie Fillmore, Sr., BYU
John Catlin, Fr., New Mexico
Riley Arp, Sr., Colorado State
Bryce Hanstad, Sr., Colorado State
Ryan Peterson, Jr., Colorado State
J.J. Spaun, So., San Diego State
Derek Ernst, So., UNLV
Colby Smith, So., UNLV
Johan de Beer, So., TCU
Travis Woolf, Sr., TCU