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2018 UGA Awards Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Utah Golf Association Names Annual Award Winners and Players of the Year

Utah’s amateur golf governing body released today the 2018 list of award winners including the Gold Club Award, its highest honor, and the men and women Players of the Year.

 

SALT LAKE CITY – The 2018 amateur golf season in Utah concludes with the Utah Golf Association’s announcement of its annual award winners to be honored at the UGA Awards Dinner in early January. Included in the annual awards are the Players of the Year, awards for exemplary service to the association and the game of golf.

UGA Gold Club Award – Reese Nielsen

The UGA Gold Club Award is presented annually to an individual who, through significant achievement or unselfish service, has contributed to the history and tradition of the game of golf in Utah, and whose personal integrity, sportsmanship, common courtesy, loyalty and friendship earn them the love and respect of their fellow golfers. The UGA is honored to present the 2018 UGA Gold Club Award to Reese Nielsen. Nielsen is a former president of the UGA and has led the association’s Course Ratings team, charged with thoroughly studying a course to determine its difficulty and applying its ratings to the United States Golf Association's handicapping system, for many years.

UWGA Lady Award – Margaret McDonough

As an annual tribute to the former Utah Women's Golf Association, the UGA honors one woman who has given back to the local golf community. Margaret McDonough’s many years of dedication to the game and her ability to immerse herself in projects such as the publishing of the “100 Years of History – The Utah State Women's Amateur” book, and organizing and staging many local women’s tournaments is why she will receive the UWGA Lady Award for 2018.

Volunteer of the Year – James Mitchell

The UGA annually recognizes one volunteer who has demonstrated outstanding commitment and contribution to the UGA. This year, that outstanding volunteer is James Mitchell. His dedication in attending nearly all of the UGA's annual course-rating site visits made him the organization's 2018 Volunteer of the Year.

Players of the Year

Each golf season the Utah Golf Association recognizes the association’s top players. The following have been named the 2018 UGA Players of the Year:

Men's Player of the Year – Mitchell Schow

Mitchell Schow, a University of Utah golfer from Park City High School, had a stellar amateur season this year winning the Richard C. Kramer Salt Lake City Amateur in June following a win at the Sand Hollow Amateur, and a tie for first in the Bountiful Amateur. Although he was upset in the first round of match play in the State Amateur, some other high finishes carried Schow to No. 1 in the UGA’s Player Performance Rating and made him the 2018 Player of the Year.

Women's Player of the Year – Carly Dehlin-Hirsch

Qualifying to play in what's traditionally (but not properly) known as the men's State Amateur was among the 2018 highlights for the former Carly Dehlin, during the summer when she married BYU golfer Kelton Hirsch, a former State Am champion. Yet that one-day golf achievement almost obscures the bigger story about Carly Hirsch, and how she became the UGA Women's Player of the Year.

Playing her senior year as a Utah Valley University graduate student, Hirsch has thrived with the Wolverines and performed well in amateur events. Her UGA season was highlighted by a victory in the Women's Stroke Play Championship, a tie for second place in the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Women's Open, losing a playoff for low amateur honors, and finished fifth in the Mary Lou Baker Open. As the defending champions, she and partner Jessica Sloot took second in the Utah Women's Four-Ball Championship, and then Sloot beat her in the Women's State Amateur on the way to the finals.

Senior Women's Player of the Year – Sue Nyhus

Utah Valley Women’s Golf Coach Sue Nyhus continues to thrive in UGA Senior Women’s events, tying for 7th in the Women's Stroke Play Championship and the Mary Lou Baker Open. She then took home the Women's Senior Amateur champion’s trophy from Hill Air Force Base's Hubbard Golf Course. Nyhus shot rounds of 67-72 to win the event by nine strokes, symbolic of her strong showing all season on the way to the UGA Senior Women's Player of the Year Award.

Senior Player of the Year – Brigham Gibbs

The deferred, second phase of Brigham Gibbs' golf career has turned into a success story. Having basically given up the game for about a dozen years while concentrating on work, the former professional golfer has become a force on the Utah amateur circuit.

As a long hitter, he's one of those relatively young (54) senior golfers who's torn between competing in the regular and senior divisions. Gibbs focused more on the UGA's senior schedule in 2018. That pretty much explains how he became the Senior Player of the Year. He performed very well in competition this year, starting with a win at the UGA Winterchamps. He defeated Brett Sampson 1 up in the final match of the UGA Senior Amateur at Glenwild Golf Club. He enjoyed a much more dominant performance in the Utah Four-Ball Championship at Park Meadows Country Club, as he and partner Jon Wright never had to play more than 15 holes in any match. Gibbs also tied for third place in the UGA Senior Stroke Play event at Glen Eagle Golf Course and won his division of the UGA Invitational at Jeremy Ranch.