A remarkable season for a Coquitlam student-athlete south of the border included a handshake from one of the golf's legends.
Earlier this month, AJ Ewart was named the 2022 NCAA Div. II national men's golf player of the year after he claimed seven tournament victories in his junior year with Barry University (BU) — just outside Miami, Fla.
The prestigious honour is named after Jack Nicklaus — considered one of the game's all-time greats with 18 major victories and 73 wins on the PGA Tour.
"It's something that I set out to win in the beginning of the year so it's nice to achieve one of my goals," said Ewart in a BU release. He was one of five athletes shortlisted for the honour.
"It was really cool to meet Mr. Nicklaus. He gave me some really good words of advice. I'm looking forward to what is coming and hopefully well be back here next year to win the award again."
Ewart made his professional debut last week at the 2022 RBC Canadian Open, held at St. George's Golf Course in Etobicoke, Ont.
While the Vancouver Golf Club alum failed to make the weekend cut by four shots, he was the low amateur despite only playing two rounds of 73 and 72.
Ewart's seven wins tied his school's single-season record for a men's golfer. Four of his victories were in a row. He now has 10 wins as a BU Buccaneer.
He also finished 11th at the national championship.
Ewart, a Gleneagle Secondary grad, was the top-ranked golfer in NCAA Div. II play with a 69.48 scoring average.
His résumé also includes a stint with the Canadian National Team, a national player of the year honour and is a two-time B.C. men's golf player of the year.
Ewart is majoring in sport management at Barry University.