Gearhart named CCAA Golfer of the Year

Chico State golfer Lee Gearhart. Photo courtesy of Chico State Wildcats

Being named for a league award is an accomplishment, but being named the conference player of the year is an eye-opening achievement. Chico State golfer Lee Gearhart was announced the California Collegiate Athletic Association Golfer of the Year in just his sophomore season.

“Being named CCAA Golfer of the Year is an honor,” Gearhart said. “We have such a strong conference. There are a number of deserving CCAA players of the year. For the coaches to vote me is very gratifying.”

League honors are not new to Gearhart, as he was given All-CCAA accolades in his first year.

Awards are by no means just handed out, and are earned by hard work and practice. Last year, Gearhart was the only Wildcat to compete in every event.

A typical gameday routine for Gearhart includes waking up an hour prior to leaving his hotel and eating breakfast, he said. When he gets to the course, he takes the time to putt around for 15-20 minutes, then heads to the range until 15 minutes before tee time.

This year has involved the same motivation by Gearhart with even better results. He has placed either first or second in five tournaments so far this season.

A memorable win this year was in Santa Barbara, California when he placed first and the team won as a whole, he said.

The team didn’t start the year as strong but have rallied together to place a spot in nationals.

“That’s why golf is so great,” Gearhart said. “You can always do better.”

Getting better and putting in time is what Gearhart strives on. Major influences to Gearhart’s game include his coaches at Chico State, his swing coach, professional golfer Keegan Bradley, back home and his dad.

“My dad is the one that got me started golfing and has been the person I have looked up to since I was a little kid,” Gearhart said. “I would not be even close to where I am today without my dad.”

With the individual awards under his belt, Gearhart will look to help his team compete for a national title at the NCAA Championship in Allendale, Michigan.

Ryan Grady can be reached at [email protected] or @RyanGrady23 on Twitter.