Austin Rustand | Posted: 22 Jul 2022 | Updated: 12 Sep 2022

Four Cougars earn GCAA All-American Scholar honors

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Keanu Akina hits a shot during the practice round at the National Championship.

NORMAN, Okla. — BYU men’s golfers Keanu Akina, Cole Ponich, David Timmins and Elijah Turner were named Srixon/Cleveland NCAA Division I All-American Scholars by the Golf Coaches Association of America on Thursday.

To be eligible for nomination, players must be at least a sophomore both academically and athletically, participate in 50 percent of the team’s competitive rounds, have a stroke average under 76.0 and maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.2. Recipients must also be of high moral character and in good standing at his college or university.

“These guys spend a lot of time at workouts, practice and traveling around the country representing BYU at tournaments, which makes what Keanu, Cole, David and Elijah have done in the classroom all the more impressive,” said BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank. “They are three great young men that get it done on the course and in the classroom and who are very deserving of this honor.”

Akina is a sophomore studying entrepreneurial management in the Marriott School of Business and holds a 3.30 GPA. The Kahuku, Hawai'i native walked on during the 2020-21 season and has been a consistent contributor for the Cougars ever since. Akina’s best finish of the 2021-22 campaign came at the William H. Tucker Invitational where he posted a career-low 64 in the second round to finish runner-up and lead the Cougars to a 19-shot, season-opening victory.

“Keanu is a guy who can put his head down, work hard and accomplish anything he sets his mind to,” said BYU director of golf Todd Miller. "That shows in both golf and his academics. He has the game to go low on any course and his 64 at the Tucker was one of the best collegiate rounds I’ve ever seen from a BYU player.”

Ponich finished his third year as a psychology major at BYU and carries a 3.40 GPA entering his senior season. The Farmington, Utah native played in 13 events for the Cougars during the 2021-22 campaign while grabbing four top-25 finishes, two top-10s and a fourth-place finish at the WCC Championship. Ponich was instrumental in helping the Cougars return to the NCAA Championship for the third time in four seasons.

“Cole is a player who knows how to play tough courses and thrives under the pressure of big events,” said Miller. “As a coach it feels good to have guys like Cole in the lineup who bring a wealth of experience to the table,”

Timmins boasts a 3.44 GPA in the communications studies program and made a late season run that was key in helping earn the Cougars a trip to the NCAA Championship for the third time in four seasons. The Sandy, Utah product grabbed four top-15 finishes, three top-10s and two top-5s this season while still excelling in the classroom.

The communications studies major recorded two top-5 finishes this season with the first coming at the 57th Cougar Classic where he finished runner-up after posting the fourth-lowest score in program history with an opening round 63. The other came at the NCAA Stockton Regional where the senior fired three-straight sub-par rounds to finish fourth at 9-under-par.

Turner teed it up in six events for the Cougars during the 2021-22 campaign and posted a scoring average of 75.39. Also a communications studies major, he holds a 3.30 GPA entering his senior season. Turner is joining three teammates at the U.S. Amateur Championship at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey this August.