The Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA) has announced the 2015 Players of the Year. Those honored include Men’s Player of the Year, Charles Kern of Mercer Island, Wash.; Women’s, Gigi Stoll of Tigard, Ore.; Men’s Mid-Amateur, Reid Hatley of Hayden Lake, Idaho; Women’s Mid-Amateur, Amanda Jacobs of Seattle, Wash.; Senior Men’s, Tom Brandes of Bellevue, Wash.; Senior Women’s, Leilani Norman of Eugene, Ore.; Junior Boys’, Joshua Gliege of Eagle, Idaho; and Junior Girls’, Ellie Slama of Salem, Ore.
In a year that included graduating from the College of William & Mary in Virginia, Kern had a solid season in the Pacific Northwest’s biggest competitions. He began the Western Swing at his home club in the Sahalee Players Championship where he finished T7 in a strong field that draws interest from some of the best amateurs from around the world. He then went on to earn Medalist honors in the stroke play portion of the Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship after posting impressive rounds of 63 and 70 for a two-day total of 9-under par at Sunriver (Ore.) Resort. Charles would then make it to the semifinals in match play, only to lose to eventual champion Anthony Quayle in a close match. Two weeks later Kern traveled to the Pacific Coast Amateur Championship in Eugene, Ore., finishing T27 in a field which boasted another impressive contingent of the world’s best amateur players. Charles topped off his season with a victory in the Washington State Men’s Amateur Championship held on the Rope Rider course at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Wash. He began the final round five strokes behind leader Joe Harvie, and fell as far as eight strokes back before rallying to win the state’s championship by two strokes.
Stoll was awarded the PNGA Women’s Player of the Year award last year and followed it up this year with another fantastic season. She began the year finishing Runner-up in the Oregon Tournament of Champions. She then won her second consecutive Oregon Women’s Amateur Championship in dominating fashion, winning the final match 8 and 6. Stoll then completed an impressive trifecta by winning the Oregon Women’s Stroke Play Championship. Gigi’s best performance of the year came in the Portland Classic Amateur Open, where she shot a 63 to set a course record and won the championship for the second year in a row, which earned her a spot in the LPGA’s Cambia Portland Classic held at Columbia Edgewater Country Club.
Consistent is the best way to describe Hatley’s 2015 season. He finished third in the Washington State Champion of Champions, T5 in the Washington State Men’s Amateur Championship, and made it to the Round of 16 in the Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship. In Mid-Amateur competitions Reid finished T3 in the Pacific Northwest Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship, third in the Washington State Mid-Amateur, and finished as Medalist in the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship Qualifier. The highlight of Reid’s summer came in the U.S. Mid-Amateur in Vero Beach, Fla., where he opened the stroke play portion of the event with a 69 and then went on to win his first round of match play before being eliminated in the Round of 32. Reid also teamed up with Nate Hair to qualify for next year’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship to be held at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York.
Jacobs also had a very consistent year in the Mid-Am ranks. She finished fourth in the BC Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, Runner-up in the Seattle Women’s Golf Association City Championship, Runner-up in the Pacific Northwest Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, and she won the Washington State Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at Fairwood Golf & Country Club in Renton, Wash. Her most notable performances came on the national stage. After finishing as Medalist in the qualifier, Amanda made it through stroke play and into the Round of 32 in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship. She also represented Washington State in the USGA Women’s State Team Championship in Missouri where she recorded a hole-in-one and finished T24 individually.
This is Brandes’ fifth year in a row to be awarded the Pacific Northwest Senior Men’s Player of the Year Award. The PNGA Hall of Famer earned this award by finishing T3 in the Washington State Champion of Champions, T4 in the Washington Senior Open, and third in the Pacific Northwest Senior Men’s Amateur Championship. Brandes was the Medalist and a semifinalist at the PNGA Men’s Master-40 Championship and won the Washington State Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship. Tom also finished as Medalist in a U.S. Senior Amateur Qualifier which took him to Egg Harbor Township, N.J. In the U.S. Senior Amateur, Tom had a very successful week and battled his way into the final match with Chip Lutz after making birdie on the 21st hole in his semifinal match. He fell to Lutz, but took home the silver medal with his Runner-up finish to complete one of his greatest seasons yet.
Norman had notable performances in many regional championships. She also qualified for the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur and made it into the Round of 64 of that national championship. Leilani finished T3 in the Oregon Women’s Senior Stroke Play Championship in Portland, Ore., and won the Oregon Women’s Senior Amateur Championship in match play. Her biggest performance of the season came when she won the Pacific Northwest Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Everett Golf & Country Club in a three-way playoff. On the fourth playoff hole, Norman hit her approach shot to three feet and buried the birdie putt for the win.
Gliege had an impressive year to earn the PNGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year. He won the Idaho High School 5A State Championship, won The Dropping Junior Championship, and won a PGA Jr. Series event. He also finished third in the AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior, T3 in the Western Junior Amateur, third in the Idaho Tournament of Champions, and sixth in a strong field at the Junior America’s Cup. Joshua also stormed through the Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ Amateur Championship, finishing stroke play as Co-Medalist and winning three matches leading up to the final match by margins of 7 and 5, 6 and 5, and 6 and 4. He won the 36-hole Championship match 8 and 7 to join a group of esteemed PNGA Junior Boys’ champions such as Fred Couples, John Bodenhamer, and Alex Prugh, among others.
Slama captured four victories in 2015. She was stroke play medalist and champion of the Oregon Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship, won the Oregon Girls’ Junior Stroke Play Championship, shot a two-day total of 6-under par in the OGA Girls’ Centennial Junior Championship to win by five strokes, and she won the OGA Girls’ Peter Jacobsen Junior Challenge. Ellie also made it into the Round of 32 in the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship after finishing as Co-Medalist in the qualifier and finishing in the top 30 in the stroke play portion of the championship.
The PNGA Player of the Year candidates are nominated by the various state and provincial golf associations that comprise the PNGA (Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington), and are selected by a vote of the PNGA Championship Committee and members of the Northwest Golf Media Association. The Mid-Amateur category was created in 2012. The awards are officially presented at the PNGA Annual Meeting in the spring.