TUSCALOOSA His perfect 4.0 GPA has earned accounting major Joseph Sykora of the University of Alabama the 2006 Southeastern Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.
The Daphne native is in his third year at the University. He was a redshirt on the 2004 Crimson Tide golf team as a true freshman and helped lead the Tide to the NCAA tournament last season and likely again in 2006 when the field is announced on May 8. Sykora played in all five of Alabama’s fall tournaments this season but missed much of the spring with an injury. He has healed now and played in Alabama’s last two events, including the SEC Championships.
Joining him in receiving honors from the SEC Monday was his teammate, freshman Matthew Swan. The Montgomery golfer was voted second team All-SEC by the league’s coaches. The two-time U.S. Amateur participant leads Alabama’s golf team with his 72.73 stroke average in 11 tournaments played this season. He’s finished among the top 10 individuals in three events, including a third-place finish at the SEC Championships, and has finished among the top 25 individuals in eight out of the 11 tournaments he’s played.
Georgia has the No. 1 ranked team in collegiate golf and its coach, Chris Haack, was voted as SEC Coach of the Year by his peers. The Bulldogs won three of the league’s top four honors (Sykora taking the other spot) as Chris Kirk, who has a 70.60 stroke average and seven top five finishes this year, was voted SEC Player of the Year. Georgia’s Brian Harmon, who has a 72.46 stroke average and five top 20 individual finishes, was voted SEC Freshman of the Year.
Florida and Georgia dominated the All-SEC team with three first team selections apiece. Florida’s All-SEC golfers included Matt Every, Billy Horschel and Brett Stegmaier. Georgia’s included Kirk, Harman and Brendon Todd. Rounding out the All-SEC first team selections were South Carolina’s Eirik Johansen and Vanderbilt’s Luke List.
The All-SEC second team consists of Swan from Alabama, Arkansas’ Matt Bortis, Auburn’s Stuart Moore, Florida’s James Vargas, Georgia’s Kevin Kisner, Kentucky’s Brad Doster, South Carolina’s Florian Fritsch and Tennessee’s Jonathan Mount.