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Utah Golf Association names 2023 Player of the Year award winners
The Utah Golf Association (UGA), the governing body of amateur golf in Utah, has announced the 2023 Players of the Year award winners today.
Annually, men, senior men, super-senior men, women, and senior women compete in hopes of finishing at the top of the UGA’s Player Performance Rankings (PPR) in their respective divisions. Players at the top of the rankings at the end of Utah’s golf season etch their names in history, earning the coveted UGA Player of the Year award.
Women’s Player of the Year, Kelsey Chugg: With 290 PPR points Chugg clinched her sixth Women’s Player of the Year title in the 12-year history of the award. In the last half-century of golf in this state, no female player in her late 20s or early 30s (a “mid-amateur,” by definition) has come close to matching Chugg’s achievements locally and nationally. This season Chugg won the Utah Women’s Stroke Play title and finished second at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship. She finished third in the Mary Lou Baker Open.
Senior Women’s Player of the Year, Nuny Kham-One: By winning the Utah Senior Women’s State Amateur this year, her first year playing in the senior circuit, Kham-One claimed the trophy and a sponsor’s exemption into the 2024 LPGA Senior Championship to be held at Copper Rock Golf Club next spring. The win also wrapped up the Senior Women’s Player of the Year PPR points race for Kham-One.
Men’s Player of the Year, Boston Bracken: Talent and drive carried the Crimson Cliffs High School senior from St. George to the title with 400.5 PPR points in his top 10 events. In the award’s 41 seasons, Bracken has joined Daniel Summerhays, Tony Finau, Rhett Rasmussen, Preston Summerhays and Cooper Jones as Players of the Year who were still in high school. Bracken won the St. George Amateur, the Dixie Red Hills Amateur and the UGA Winterchamps title. He also qualified for the U.S. Amateur by shooting 67-66 on Soldier Hollow’s Silver Course. He completed his high school career in October by shooting 65-68 (even with a four-stroke penalty he called on himself for having a 15th club in his bag) at The Ridge GC to repeat as Class 4A medalist. Bracken led Crimson Cliffs to a second straight team victory.
Senior Men’s Player of the Year, Shane McMillan: After winning the Utah Four-Ball Championship with Matthew Lyons, McMillan spoke of “a stressful year” on the course. That was his own doing, having put himself in contention so frequently. McMillan also delivered stellar performances in the Golfweek International Senior Invitational, the Utah Senior State Amateur, and the Senior Stroke Play Championship. He won the UGA Winterchamps Senior division, he shared first place finishes in both the Utah Senior Open (Low Senior Amateur) and the Birch Creek Senior Amateur. McMillian was also a runner-up, after a playoff, in the Senior Stroke Play Championship. In 2024, McMillan will have a chance to become the first golfer to win three straight Senior Men’s Player of the Year awards.
Super-Senior Player of the Year, Randy Hicken: At 64, Hicken became the first official winner of the Super Senior Player of the Year award. He edged Paul Cannon by four PPR points (241.6-237.26). Hicken’s 2023 highlights included tying for first place in his division of the Utah Senior Open and winning the TalonsCove Senior Amateur. He also finished second in the Utah Senior Stroke Play Championship.
Each award winner will be recognized at the annual awards banquet scheduled for early next year.
Story written by Faiways Media senior writer Kurt Kragthorpe. Photos by USGA and Fairways Media.