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Norman caps off stellar season with Player Of The Year honors

  • Benton's Cy Norman was named boys' Golfer Of The Year in Southern Illinois over the weekend.

    Benton's Cy Norman was named boys' Golfer Of The Year in Southern Illinois over the weekend.

By Spyder Dann
updated: 11/16/2020 9:05 AM

The year 2020 has been one that just about anyone would just soon forget.
Then there's Cy Norman.
If there is one person in this world has had a better start to finish in this calendar season, the Benton sophomore has to be at the top of the list.
Rewind to May when Norman defied all the odds by recording two hole in ones in the same round. Parlay that with a high school golf season during a pandemic where virtually, he was unbeaten, taking home medalist honors at the year-end Centralia Sectional and capped off the season with an American Junior Golf Association event in Norman, Oklahoma, where his top-5 finish gave him exempt status until he graduates.
Oh, and over the weekend, Norman became the sixth Ranger and third straight to take home The Southern Illinoisan Golfer Of The Year honors.
"With everything horrible that has happened, it has been one of my best year's on the course," Norman said. "From an accomplishment standpoint, I have no complaints."
Norman joins a Ranger list of linksters that include last year's POY winner Brad Hammond, Brendan Luster (2018), Thomas Simpson and Andrew Mitchell (2010) and Bryce Doughty (2009).
Hammond is now playing at John A. Logan, while Luster is finishing up at Rend Lake College. The factory that has become Ranger golf, has sent 67 percent of its players to the next level since 2014.
Norman's father and Benton boys' golf coach Reggie Norman took over the program 2014. He quickly went to work putting together a record book -- a year long project -- that dated back to 1964, which includes every match and tournament Benton was a part of. Because of recent success with the aforementioned players, the elder Norman said it was important to recognize their success.
"Those guys before us, they really helped set the stage for where we are not as a program. It's very important for me that my guys know those records. We've set a lot of new records, but now I want to give the younger guys, coming up, something to shoot for.
Cy Norman's records this past season included winning every match and tournament he entered, plus the 13-under par rounds he had. His nine-hole scoring mark of 32.67 and 18-hole scoring mark of 69.0 set another record.
Records are meant to be broken. Cy is looking for consistency.
He's also looking to become a force on the AJGA circuit, just like he's become on the prep scene, where his performance gets more national attention.
His first AJGA win in Columbia, Missouri is his proudest moment this year, he admitted. He finished in a tie for 5th at the Jimmie Austin University of Oklahoma Golf Club, only to drive through the night, to get back in time to shoot a -2 under 68 at Greenview Golf Course in Centralia to win medalist honors, while no other golfer broke 70.
"With that (AJGA) event being the invitational that it was, it was the best junior golfers in the world and what's what I want to do …is to compete with them," Cy said.
Cy's father, Reggie, noted that since Cy has exempt status to tournaments and once the AJGA schedule is complete, the two will start plotting their course to what events Cy will play and when.
One event already circled is the Barbasol Junior Championship, June 28 through July 1 at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Kentucky, just outside of Lexington.
Should Norman win that event, he would automatically be in the Barbasol PGA event July 15-18.
"We knew that he was going to win on the AJGA level," Reggie said. "I knew it three years ago and saw it building. Watching him navigate his way differently around courses this year, as a dad, that as fun to see. That's what I'm going to probably remember most about this season. I think next year, however, we are all going to see a completely different Cy and it's going to be really fun to watch."

Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois LOCAL Media News Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.