Two-time All-American and recent San José State graduate Natasha Andrea Oon has been named the recipient of the 2022 Inkster Award Presented by Workday, recognizing the highest ranked women’s Division I (DI) collegiate golfer in her final year of eligibility for the 2021-22 college golf season.
The award is named after Juli Inkster, a World Golf Hall-of-Fame member and Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) legend who was a three-time All-American at San José State (1979-1982). She elected not to turn professional until finishing her four-year commitment to her school, winning 17 individual titles during her college career. The Inkster Award winner announcement was made today onsite at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, a PGA TOUR event in Dublin, Ohio.
Oon finished the season as the 3rd-ranked DI women’s college golfer according to Golfstat and the 4th-ranked in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, the highest-ranked senior in both polls. As a result of winning the 2022 Inkster Award, Oon will receive exemptions to compete in the 2022 Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give, taking place at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont, Mich., June 16-19 and the AmazingCre Portland Classic, Sept. 15-28 at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Ore. She also will automatically advance to the second stage of LPGA Q-School, Oct. 18-21 at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Fla., and will join Inkster on a two-day mentorship retreat in Northern California.
As a presenting sponsor of the Inkster Award, Workday will provide $50,000 to the Juli Inkster Foundation to help support Oon’s transition to her professional golf career. The $50,000 will support Oon’s mentorship retreat with Inkster and assist with Oon’s travel expenses. Oon graduated from San José State University (SJSU) in the fall with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in General Business, and is currently working to earn her Masters at SJSU in Interdisciplinary Studies – Sports and Data.
“Natasha had a remarkable career at my alma mater at San José State, stuck it out through the challenges of the global pandemic to earn her college degree and excelled on the golf course with an amazing senior season,” said Inkster. “That says a lot about not only her performance on the course but also about her goals and passions away from it and putting education as a priority. I look forward to mentoring Natasha as she navigates the next stage in her professional and personal journeys.
“I also want to thank the Women’s Golf Coaches Association and Workday for partnering with me on this award,” continued Inkster. “To have a player be honored for her commitment to her school, coaches and her teammates is what this award is all about.”
“Juli Inkster has been such a role model my entire career at San Jose State,” said Oon. “Her Hall of Fame career speaks for itself. To receive this award from Juli and to have her as my mentor is an honor beyond words. I’m excited for the next step in my career and to test my skills against the best players in the world on the LPGA Tour. Thank you Workday and Juli for making this possible and giving me the opportunity to chase after my dreams.”
Oon capped off her college golf career by recording one of the best post-season finishes in SJSU history, winning both the Mountain West Championship and the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional individual titles. Currently ranked 8th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, Oon finished as the individual runner-up at the 2022 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships, becoming the first SJSU Spartan to finish in the top-five since Janice Moodie finished second at the Scarlet Course in Columbus in 1997.
The 2022 recipients of the Division II and Division III Inkster Award will be announced at a later date.
About the Inkster Award presented by Workday
The Inkster Award presented by Workday shines a light on an NCAA Division I senior who commits a full college career to her team in a climate where leaving school early to turn professional has become more enticing for the game’s top college players. Workday, a presenting sponsor, is proud to support the next generation of women athletes going above and beyond in their sport and communities. The award is administered by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association and managed by Outlyr, a global sports marketing and event management company. Furman senior Natalie Srinivasan was the inaugural Inkster Award Division I winner (2020), with Duke senior Jaravee Boonchant winning the 2021 award.