The AmateurGolf.com Players of the Year for 2021
04 Jan 2022
by AmateurGolf.com Staff

The 2021 AmateurGolf.com Players of the Year
The 2021 AmateurGolf.com Players of the Year

After the pandemic-disrupted 2020 in which major tournaments were canceled en masse and college golf all but disappeared, 2021 was a welcome return to a full schedule of competition for amateur golfers.

The 2021 AmateurGolf.com Players of the Year were awarded based on a point system earned through performance in major amateur events throughout the course of the year. This year, a couple of familiar names were joined by breakout young stars.

Here are the AmateurGolf.com Players of the Year for 2021:

The 2021 AGC Men's Player of the Year: Ludvig Aberg

Coming into the year, the college golf landscape was in turmoil, as the COVID-19 pandemic obliterated the 2020 fall schedule. Many colleges, including Aberg's Texas Tech, loaded up the spring schedule with a larger-than-normal number of tournaments in a sprint to the NCAA Championship.

But Aberg was ready, having gained experience the previous summer in his native Sweden competing in the Nordic Golf League, a professional tour that feeds into the Challenge Tour in Europe. Aberg won two Nordic Golf League events and represented the winning International team in the Arnold Palmer Cup in December, so he came into 2021 well prepared.

Aberg cashed in at the Jones Cup at Sea Island, grinding out a one-shot win over a trio of Walker Cuppers (Cole Hammer, Davis Thompson and Alex Fitzpatrick) by rolling in a 7-foot birdie putt on the final hole.

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The 2021 AGC Women's Player of the Year: Rachel Heck

Coming into her freshman year at Stanford University, expectations were high for Heck, who was a five-time Rolex All-American as a junior golfer and who had demonstrated that she was comfortable playing against the world's best. As a 15-year-old she made the cut at the U.S. Women's Open, and was the low amateur in the Evian Championship at the age of 16.

But no one would have foreseen just how dominant she would be in the spring, especially after Stanford's fall 2020 season was wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Heck got started at the Gunrock Invitational, earning her first college victory and leading the Cardinal to the team win. She followed it up with a T11 at the Juli Inskter/Meadow Club Invitational and a runner-up finish to Kelly Sim at the PING/ASU Invitational. As it turned out, Sim would be the last player to beat Heck the rest of the college season.

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The 2021 AGC Mid-Amateur Player of the Year: Stewart Hagestad

After a year that clearly established him as the best mid-amateur of this generation, Stewart Hagestad is the AmateurGolf.com Mid-Amateur Player of the Year for the third time.

Hagestad won his first AGC Player-of-the-Year award in 2017, the year after winning his first U.S. Mid-Amateur, as he became the first mid-am to earn low amateur honors at the Masters and helped the U.S. team win the Walker Cup at Los Angeles Country Club.

His second AGC POY award came in 2019, as he made more history by becoming the first amateur in 34 years to play in three straight U.S. Open championships, and helped the U.S. retain the Walker Cup at Royal Liverpool in England.

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The 2021 AGC Senior Player of the Year: Gene Elliott

In a year that showed just how far he would go to satisfy his competitive drive, Gene Elliott of W. Des Moines, Iowa is the 2021 AmateurGolf.com Senior Player of the Year. This is Elliott's second Player-of-the-Year honor, having won it for the first time in 2018.

In a 2020 season abbreviated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Elliott played in four national senior events, winning two. This year, he played in 14, winning five and finishing second four times. Remarkably, he never finished outside the top five in any senior amateur event he played in 2021.

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The 2021 AGC Super Senior Player of the Year: Jeff Burda

After winning three major super senior titles and finishing as runner-up in two more, Jeff Burda of Modesto, Calif. is the 2021 AmateurGolf.com Super Senior Player of the Year.

Burda, who turned 68 in March, has long been a force in Northern California, becoming the all-time leader in NCGA championship titles with his win in the 2020 NCGA Super Senior.

Many highly-ranked seniors and super seniors travel the country competing in major events, but Burda mostly let the field come to him in 2021.

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Honorable Mention

James Piot is our U.S. Player of the Year on the strength of winning the biggest tournament of them all, the U.S. Amateur, as well as a pair of college tournaments for Michigan State. Piot also won gold as a part of the winning Spirit International team for the U.S.

Bo Jin is our California Player of the Year after a host of high finishes in amateur events and at college events representing Oklahoma State, including being the runner-up in the Big 12 Conference, the NCAA regionals, and the NCAA Championship.

>> Past AmateurGolf.com Players of the Year

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