117th MGA Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner Oct. 30 at Brackett's Crossing

October 23, 2017 | 8 min.

EDINA, Minn. (Oct. 23, 2017) – The Minnesota Golf Association’s 117th Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner will be held on Monday Oct. 30 at Brackett’s Crossing Country Club in Lakeville.  The evening’s highlights include recognition of the MGA Players of the Year (in six categories); the MGA Warren J. Rebholz Distinguished Service Award winner; the MGA Fritz Corrigan Evans Scholar of the Year; three inductees into the MGA-PGA Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame; the MGA’s President’s Award winner (Volunteer of the Year); and the MGA Member Club of the Year.  

“We have successfully completed the first year of a merged organization, one that serves all men and women members in the state of Minnesota,” says Barb Hanson, MGA president. “The annual meeting is an opportunity to celebrate our individual and collective successes, as well as, honor our players-of-the-year, amateur champions from all our competitions and recognize our faithful volunteers for their accomplishments and their very positive impact on the game of golf.”

MGA Players of the Year
By design, MGA Players of the Year achieve the honor by consistently playing at the top of their game. Since 1975, the MGA has awarded player points for top finishes in MGA and allied association championships, as well as select regional, national and international events. Notable Minnesota golf champions who have achieved MGA Player of the Year honors in their respective categories, include:  John Harris, the 1993 U.S. Amateur champion, Hilary (Homeyer) Lunke, the 2003 U.S. Women’s Open champion, siblings Tim Herron and Alissa (Herron) Super, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour and the 1999 USGA Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, respectively, and Sammy Schmitz, who qualified for the 2015 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship and won it in dramatic fashion, making a rare double-eagle (ace) on the 33rd hole.  

The players listed in the following categories have earned the distinction, 2017 MGA Player of the Year:  

Women’s Player of the Year Sarah Burnham, (647.50 points).  Burnham, 21, of Maple Grove, is a member of the Rush Creek Golf Club. She finished second or tied for second four times this season, including a T2 finish at the Minnesota Women’s Amateur Championship, a lone second at the Minnesota Women’s State Open, and two runner-up finishes at the Minnesota Women’s Amateur Match Play Championship, and the Trans Amateur Championship. Burnham won the MGA Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship (with partner Jessica Nelson), and took 5th place at the MGA Mixed Amateur Team Championship (with partner Curt Carbaugh). She reached the round of 32 at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. 

This is Burnham’s third MGA Women’s Player of the Year honor in the last six years, her sixth title overall. 

Junior Boys’ Player of the Year Derek Hitchner, (287.50 points).  Hitchner, 18, of Minneapolis, is a member of The Minikahda Club. He earned three top-ten finishes this season, including a tie for fifth at the Minnesota State Open, a tie for sixth at the Western Junior, and a tie for fifth at the Minnesota State High School League Class AA Tournament. Hitchner qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship in Los Angeles, Calif., and tied for 17th place at the MGA Amateur Championship.  

This is Hitchner’s first MGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year honor.

Senior Women’s Player of the Year Leigh Klasse, (460 points).  Klasse, 58, of Woodbury, is a member of Keller Golf Club. She earned her eighth consecutive Senior Women’s Player of the Year title thanks to three first-place finishes this season: the MGA’s Women’s Senior Amateur Championship, the MGA Senior Women’s Amateur Match Play, and the MGA Women’s Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship (with partner Lynn Anderson). Klasse finished in fourth place at the MGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, and took fifth at the MGA Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship (with partner Betsy Aldrich). She qualified for the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship, advancing to the round-of-16 match play. 

This is Klasse’s eighth consecutive MGA Senior Women’s Player of the Year honor, her 12th title overall.  

Senior Men’s Player of the Year Jerry Rose, (258.33 points). Rose, 59, of Alexandria, is a member of Alexandria Golf Club. He prevailed at the MGA Senior Players’ Championship, and finished alone in second place at the MGA Senior Amateur Championship. Rose tied for sixth place at the MGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship (with partner Jim Lehman), also finishing as second low senior, and earned player points for qualifying for the Minnesota State Open, the MGA Amateur Championship and the MGA Mid-Amateur Championship. 

This is Rose’s first MGA Senior Men’s Player of the Year honor.  

Men’s Player of the Year Sammy Schmitz, (600.50 points). Schmitz, 37, of River Falls, Wis., is a member of Southview Country Club and StoneRidge Golf Club. He took first place at the Minnesota Golf Champions, tied for third at the Minnesota State Open, advanced to the round of 16 at the MGA Players’ and Mid-Players’ Championships, and tied for 11th place at the MGA Amateur Championship. With partner Will Hickey, Schmitz took second at the MPGA Four-Ball Championship, and tied for sixth (with partner Jesse Polk) at the MGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship. By virtue of his 2015 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship win, Schmitz was exempt for local qualifying at the U.S. Open, and sectional qualifying at the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur championships. 

This is Schmitz’s third consecutive MGA Player of the Year honor, his sixth title overall.

Junior Girls’ Player of the Year Sophia Yoemans, (222.50 points). Yoemans, 17, of Red Wing, is a member of Mississippi National Golf Links. She earned three wins this season, including the Minnesota State Junior Girls’ Championship, the Minnesota State High School League Class AAA Tournament, where she was an individual co-champion, and the Minnesota Junior PGA Girls’ Championship. Yoemans also was a sectional qualifier at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. 

This is Yoeman’s first MGA Junior Girls’ Player of the Year honor.  

A complete list of player points can be found at http://www.mngolf.org/playerpoints.

Warren J. Rebholz Distinguished Service Award
The “Rebbie” award was established in 1994 to honor individuals who, through their actions, have exemplified the spirit of the game of golf at its highest level and who have made a substantial contribution to the game in Minnesota, or on a national or international level.

Nora McGuire is the 2017 MGA Warren J. Rebholz Distinguished Service Award winner. McGuire, 62, of St. Paul, is the former head golf professional at the Phalen Golf Course, who retired in 2010 after serving for 28 years. She has earned numerous honors during that time including the Minnesota PGA Section’s Bill Strausbaugh Award – twice, in 2002 and 2009; the Minnesota PGA Section’s Facility Promoter of the Year, in 2001; the LPGA Midwest Section Professional of the Year, in 1994; the LPGA’s National President’s Award – also twice, in 1995 and 1999; and she was inducted into the Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame in 2011. 

McGuire, who got her start in the golf business as a caddie at St. Paul’s Town & Country Club, dedicated her life to serving the game, especially women and junior golfers. She has given countless hours to the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program and charity golf events, including the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am and the Komen Foundation (Breast Cancer), as well as serving as host and co-chair of the HOPE Golf Classic, helping to raise thousands of dollars in the fight against breast cancer. 

She currently serves the MGA as Vice President of Women’s Golf. 

Additional Award Winners
Awards for the MGA Fritz Corrigan Evans Scholar of the Year, the MGA Member Club of the Year and the MGA’s President’s Award (Volunteer of the Year) will be announced during the evening program on Oct. 30. In addition, three inductees to the Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame will be recognized: Carol Ellis, of Roseville, Tim Herron, of Wayzata, and Charles Erickson, posthumously.

The awards program begins at 5:30 p.m. For more information, please contact Anne Colehour Mullen at the MGA office 952-345-3969.  

About Brackett’s Crossing Country Club
Brackett’s Crossing has been an active supporter of amateur golf and MGA championships since the early 1970s. In that time, Brackett’s Crossing has hosted numerous MGA qualifiers and championships including: the 1973 and 2009 MGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championships, the 1993 MGA Amateur Championship, the 2003 MGA Mid-Amateur, the 2006 MGA Mixed Amateur Team Championship, and the 2012 MGA Women’s Mid-Amateur. In addition, Brackett’s Crossing has hosted several MGA Senior Tour events, as well as MGA Junior Team qualifiers. In 2012, Brackett’s Crossing was named the MGA Member Club of the Year. 

About the MGA
Established in 1901, with the formation by seven golf clubs to organize the state’s most prestigious and storied golf championship, the MGA Amateur Championship, the Minnesota Golf Association is today the governing body over amateur golf in the state, responsible for administering the Rules of Golf, and committed to upholding and promoting the game of golf and its values for all golfers in Minnesota. 

The MGA conducts 20 major amateur championships and 15 USGA qualifying events each year. Thanks to the support of its member clubs and associate members, and the efforts of its volunteers and staff, the MGA provides a variety of services such as handicapping, course rating and measuring, an online golf news and information resource, www.mngolf.org, and an official publication, Minnesota Golfer magazine, which benefit all golfers throughout Minnesota. 


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