August 26, 2015 / 5:38 PM / 4 years ago

Spain's Rahm-Rodriguez wins top amateur award

(Reuters) - Spaniard Jon Rahm-Rodriguez, a first-team All-American at Arizona State University, has won the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading men’s amateur player based on the 2015 World Amateur Golf Ranking.

As long as Rahm-Rodriguez maintains his amateur status, he will receive exemptions into next year’s U.S. Open and British Open for winning the award, which is jointly organized by the R&A and United States Golf Association.

“I am honored by this award and excited about the exemptions it brings,” Rahm-Rodriguez, 20, said in a news release issued on Wednesday. “I also feel great pride in being the first Spanish golfer to receive this distinction.”

Rahm-Rodriguez won four individual junior tournaments during 2014-15 and posted the third-best single-season stroke average ever (69.15) in the NCAA to establish himself as the top college amateur in the United States.

Winner of the Spanish Stroke Play Championship in 2014 and 2015, he helped his country to finish third at last year’s World Amateur Team Championship where he set the individual 72-hole scoring record, previously held by Jack Nicklaus.

The Spaniard also made an impact on the PGA Tour, tying for fifth at the Phoenix Open in February when he finished just three strokes behind the winner, Brooks Koepka.

Last week, Ireland’s Leona Maguire was announced as the winner of the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading women’s amateur player.

The Mark H. McCormack medals, established in 2007, are named in honor of Mark McCormack, a pioneer and founder of the sports marketing industry who also created the world ranking system for professional golf. He died in 2003.

His International Management Group is widely known as the world’s largest representative of sportsmen and sportswomen.

Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue

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