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Niger, Vanier earn NCGA Player-of-Year Honors
13 Oct 2006
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PEBBLE BEACH , California (October 13, 2006) -- Bob Niger of El Dorado Hills and Gary Vanier of Pleasant Hill both had outstanding seasons in earning NCGA Player of the Year and Senior Player of the Year honors.
           
Niger accumulated 2,435 points during the season, almost 900 more than his winning player-of-the year campaign in 2004-2005. The Serrano member set a goal of winning 12 tournaments including two majors, and achieved his goals through winning the NCGA Master Division and Valley Amateur championships, and by winning the Livermore Valley, Wine Country Cup, Diablo Valley, Tulare County, California Mid-Amateur, Plumas Lake, Manteca City, Sacramento City and State Fair championships.

Vanier recorded 1,305 points with most of these points coming from four events. Runner-up finishes in both the NCGA Senior and State Senior, a run to the round of 16 at the U.S. Senior Amateur and capturing the Valley Senior Amateur at Elkhorn CC allowed the 56-year-old to surge past Bob Rowland in one of the closest player-of-the year races in recent years. The Olympic Club member had strong finishes in regular amateur events including the Alameda Commuters and NCGA Amateur Stroke Play. Vanier was on hand at the Annual Meeting to accept his award. Niger was playing in the Stocker Cup at The Preserve GC in Carmel and was unable to accept the award in person (Niger would ultimately win the Stocker Cup to kickoff his 2006-2007 season with 200 NCGA points).

Bartee Elected NCGA President

Dean Bartee of Saratoga, a member at La Rinconada CC, was officially named president of the Northern California Golf Association Friday.

Bartee and other board members for the 2007 golf season were affirmed by a gathering of more than 200 officers from NCGA member clubs at the Annual Meeting held at Castlewood CC, October 13.

The 74-year-old Bartee has been a member of the board of directors since 2000. Born in Texas, he was a vice president with the San Jose Mercury News for 23 years; the last 13 years he served as senior vice president of sales and marketing. Bartee served on the boards of numerous civic and cultural organizations and with his wife Judy has two children: Jeff and Christie

He will also be on the boards for the California Golf Association and the Pacific Coast Golf Association as well as the NCGA’s personnel/advisory committee.

Bartee succeeds Dick Skavdahl, a member at Almaden CC in San Jose. Also seated were Vice President Mark House of Corral de Tierra CC (in his seventh year on the board) and Secretary-Treasurer Michael Hexner of The Olympic Club (in his sixth).

Current NCGA directors that were renominated for the coming year were: Ted Budach of Round Hill (third), Lou Carpine of San Luis Obispo GCC (fifth), Chris Clark of Pasatiempo GC (fourth), Bill Downs of Oakmont (third), David Englert of Riverside GC (seventh), Kerry Gordon of North Ridge CC (fifth), Dan Hansford of Castlewood CC (fourth), Vaughn Kezirian of Fort Washington GCC (sixth), Jim Moriarty of The Olympic Club (fifth), Brian Morse of Merced GCC (third), and John Whitelaw of Del Paso CC (fourth).

Joining the board for the first of a three-year term were Lee Gidney of Yolo Fliers Club, Brooke Phayer of Pajaro Valley GC and John Ronca, Jr. of San Luis Obispo CC. Retiring after many years of service are Past-President Bill Giffen of Brookside CC, Ken Haas of Stevinson Ranch and Greg Sollers of Sharon Heights GCC.

Distinguished Service Awards

Lyle Wehrman of Vacaville and Sally Pini were honored with the NCGA's Distinguished Service Award.

The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Wehrman in recognition of his dedication to golf as a member of the PGA of America for 66 years. Wehrman previously served as executive director of the NCPGA and volunteered in a variety of capacities for the association including for the Northern California Cup Matches – an event that was renamed in his honor, along with longtime NCGA Executive Director Bob Hanna.

The former executive director of the NCPGA and head professional at Merced GCC was recently inducted into the PGA of America’s Hall of Fame and received the PGA National Golf Professional of the Year award in 1964

The NCGA also posthumously honored Sally Pini for her commitment to the advancement of junior golf for close to four decades. Not only did she develop scholarship programs, but in teaching junior players she helped ensure the development of amateur golf in the region.

Before her death in 2004 at age 75, Pini was a driving force behind the Junior Golf Association of Northern California and was executive director of Junior America’s Cup Matches. She served as the Northern California team captain for both the Junior America and Hogan Cup matches for 15 years, leading both teams to great success

The NCGA has recognized individuals for exceptional service to golf since 1982. The award was formerly known as the Grand Master Award.  

Other Awards

Other awards announced at the Annual Meeting included Tournament Official of the Year, presented to Don Armistead of San Jose, and Course Rater of the Year, presented to Ken Rogers of Santa Cruz.

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