The Daily Messenger’s Golfer Player of the Year

Brighton, N.Y. — When Harley-Allendale Columbia’s Matthew van Niekerk won the Finger Lakes Golf Championship during the 2010-11 season it was a three-way tie. This year, van Niekerk won the title outright. The junior carded a three over par 75 at Old Hickory Golf Club in Livonia to earn medalist honors and break a tie in the standings.

“It’s a huge honor knowing that I was one of the top ranked golfers in the league,” van Niekerk said.

The golfer also led the Wolves to a 9-1 record and a share of the Finger Lakes West League title. That’s why he is the Daily Messenger’s 2012 Golfer of the Year.

The son of Schalk and Sharon van Niekerk entered his fourth year of varsity golf for Harley-Allendale Columbia. During the fall season, van Niekerk was the Finger Lakes West’s co-player of the year.

Over the last year, van Niekerk feels he has become more consistent on the course due to the work he’s done with his coach and getting more experience playing.

“I feel like even though some of the results haven’t been the best, I believe I’ve become a lot stronger as a golfer,” van Niekerk said.

At sectionals, van Niekerk finished second in Class C and sixth overall. He said a swing overhaul he was in the middle of hurt his score. Van Niekerk said the new swing has felt natural since then.

Over the summer, van Niekerk has been golfing in many events. At the 60th International Junior Masters at East Aurora Golf Club in Buffalo, van Niekerk finished third.

After graduating from Allendale Columbia next summer van Niekerk wants to play Division I golf.