Ferris State's Ben Cook Claims Division II PING All-America Honors After Impressive Year

Ben Cook
Senior Ben Cook earned All-America honors

Click Here For Official Release (PDF)

Big Rapids, Mich. - Senior Ben Cook, who helped lead the Ferris State University men's golf squad to the NCAA Division II National Quarterfinals this past year, has earned 2017 Division II PING All-America recognition for his performance in his final campaign.

Cook claimed honorable mention All-America accolades and was the lone golfer from a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) school recognized by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). The organization picked a first, second and third team along with an honorable mention list.

Cook led the Bulldogs to a GLIAC runner-up finish this season and a top 10 national ranking at one point during the regular season. The senior standout claimed GLIAC Player of the Year honors for the second time in his collegiate career after previously earning the distinction in 2015 when he was also chosen to the Division II PING All-America Team. 

A two-time all-region choice, Cook compiled eight top-10 tournament finishes this year, including winning the Kyle Ryman Invitational hosted by Tiffin last fall. He placed among the top three golfers in five events and tied for sixth overall at the league championships. The four-year letterwinner led FSU to five tournament championships this year and a 15th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

Two years ago, Cook became the first FSU golfer to receive the GLIAC Men's Golfer of the Year honor since former standout Eric Lilleboe in 2009-10. Lilleboe, who also earned the distinction in 2007-08, and Cook are the only two Bulldogs to have received the honor since prior to the 2000-01 campaign.

Following the regular season, Cook helped lead the Bulldogs to one of their best postseasons ever. He finished seventh individually at the 2017 NCAA Division II Midwest/Central Super Regional in Nebraska by carding a 206 total over three rounds. His performance included a school-record eight-under par 64 total in the final round as the Bulldogs earned runner-up honors in the event. It also featured an ace on the part three, fifth hole at the Awarii Dunes Golf Course.

Cook's impressive final regional round helped the Bulldogs notch a 270 final round team score, which also broke the previous school record score of 274 set by the Bulldogs in their own Ferris State Invitational at Katke Golf Course in 2001. Ferris State's 836 team total (-28) for the 54 holes of the super regional also topped the 837 figure recorded in 2009 at the Saginaw Valley State Al Watrous Memorial Invite in Bay City.

Cook's 64 figure in the final round represented the best individual 18-hole score in school history, topping the previous mark of 65 set by John Hagemeier in 1997 and matched by Jim Lusk in 1998 along with Eric Lilleboe in 2009. His 206 finish for the 54 holes also was near a school-record, which Lilleboe set in 2009 at the SVSU Al Watrous Memorial Invite with a 202 total.

This year, Cook went on to finished tied for 15th individually with a 214 total at the NCAA Division II National Championships in Florida after shooting a 73 in the final round. He shot a 68 in round one before closing the tourney with back-to-back 73's over the final two days of stroke play. 

His play helped Ferris State advance to the national quarterfinals by finishing seventh overall in the stroke play portion of the national championships in Kissimmee. FSU was the only school outside of the state of Florida or South Carolina to finish among the top seven teams in the country in stroke play. The Bulldogs fell to eventual national champion Florida Southern in the round of eight.

The Bulldogs made their 15th all-time national championships appearance and first berth since 2010 after the runner-up finish in the super regional championships. Ferris State's current 15-year NCAA Championship appearance streak in men's golf ranks as one of the longest active stretches in the country.

The national quarterfinal appearance capped off what was an exciting season for the Bulldogs under first-year head coach Kyle Wittenbach, a FSU alum. The Bulldogs won four tournaments in the fall, earned a top 10 national ranking, claimed runner-up honors at the Super Regional Championship and placed a school-best seventh overall in stroke play at the national championships this season before earning a trip to the NCAA Elite Eight.