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Driven for Greatness

Collegiate golf career capped by national player of the year award

Andrew Beckler

(Andrew Beckler, bba '19, mba '21. Photo by Jeremy Wangler)

From The Ichabod - Fall 2021
Story by Chris Marshall

It’s easy to be skeptical when an award-winning athlete claims they compete simply for the love of the game. But when Andrew Beckler, the 2021 Division II recipient of the Jack Nicklaus Award, said he doesn’t golf for the accolades, there’s reason to believe him.

That’s because the Washburn University standout didn’t even realize he was eligible for national player of the year honors until he was named a finalist after his senior season ended in May.

“I didn’t know they gave it to DII golfers, so that was kind of a surprise,” said Beckler, bba ’19, mba ’21. “It means the world to me to be recognized for the hard work and results I’ve had. I don’t play for recognition, I play just because I love to play, but it’s still awesome to be honored.”

The Jack Nicklaus Award is given annually to the top golfer in each classification of competition. Beckler joined a star-studded list of previous winners that includes Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Justin Thomas.  

It was the most prestigious in a slew of Beckler’s honors that include All-America and MIAA player of the year. Beckler finished in the top three of all 10 events his senior season, winning five and finishing second individually at the NCAA national championship. He set a Washburn scoring record with a 70.42 average for the season.

The Topeka native played the past three years for the Ichabods after starting his collegiate career at Kansas State University. Transferring reunited him with Jeff Stromgren, b ed ’80, who coached Washburn Rural High School during Beckler’s freshman year before coming to Washburn.

“I didn’t think it would happen again,” Beckler said of playing for Stromgren, who retired as Washburn’s coach at the end of the season. “He’s nice to learn from, and I know how much he cares about Washburn and Topeka, like me. When I left K-State, this was the only place I wanted to go.”

Beckler made the MIAA Academic Honor Roll every year and was a first team Academic All-American.

“Washburn was a perfect fit, with the class sizes and having professors and a community that cares,” he said. “We got real-world experience with business professionals around town, and that will help me down the road.”

For the past three years, Beckler complemented his Washburn classes by working as an account specialist for RetireWise, a tax and wealth advisory firm. He said he’s happy to have the company’s support as he graduates to even tougher courses: Beckler plans to begin golfing professionally this fall.

“I’m going to try making it on some tours, starting with qualifying school for the Korn Ferry Tour, and hopefully eventually the PGA,” he said. “I’m giving myself two years, and if I can make a living doing that, awesome.”  

Spring 2022 The Ichabod cover. Sculpture on the lawn north of Memorial Union

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