Golf: Golden Bear Nicklaus caps Callum’s golden year in the States

Callum Bruce with Jack Nicklaus.
Callum Bruce with Jack Nicklaus.

Callum Bruce will never forget the day he received an honour for his achievements from Jack Nicklaus.

Duff House Royal member Callum, 19, who is back in Scotland after finishing his first year at Midland College in Texas, won the Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year award for college golf after an outstanding year.

Former Scotland boys international Callum, who finished top qualifier at the Scottish Amateur at Blairgowrie last week, said: “Having made the final six for the Jack Nicklaus award, I was honoured when I received a call to be told I had won it and that I would receive it from Jack himself at an award ceremony.

“I was delighted to discover I had to travel to the Memorial PGA tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, for the presentation.

“Winning the award and meeting Jack Nicklaus has been the highlight of my golf career to date. Jack is one of the greatest players of all time and an absolute gentleman to talk to.

“Jack had lots of advice to give; the main point that he enforced to us was to give it everything we had as there is nothing to lose.

“He also said to play as much as possible. He was very down to earth and easy to speak to.

“I also played in the Barbasol Shootout tournament for the chance to win a place in the Barbasol PGA championship with four other Nicklaus award winners.

“I finished third behind players who have now turned professional. They included Norman Xiong, from Oregon State, who played his first tour event at the Military Tribute on the PGA Tour.

“It was a great experience to play against these guys and to judge my game against some of the world’s best amateurs.

“During my first year at Midland, I won four tournaments, came second in another four and only finished outside the top 10 on two occasions out of the 14 tournaments we played.”

The tournaments that Callum won included the Andrews collegiate AM, the Tyler JC Fall Invitational and the Jacob Claude Invitational, which were all in Texas.

Callum also triumphed in the NMMI Sonny Wiginton Intercol at Roswell, New Mexico.

Callum, who finished sixth in the East of Scotland 2018 event at Lundin Golf Club, Fife, added: “Our national championship was held at Lubbock in Texas and I finished second to Joel Dumford, who plays for Iowa Western Junior College.

“At an awards ceremony prior to the nationals, I received the Phil Mickelson award for outstanding freshman of the year and was also awarded All American first team.”