MGA Awards Banquet Oct. 28 at Brackett's Crossing
October 25, 2019
EDINA, Minn. (Oct. 25, 2019) – The Minnesota Golf Association’s 119th Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner will be held on Monday, Oct. 28 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 Member Club of the Year; and new this year, the inaugural MGA Giles Kobilka Award winner.
“The MGA Annual Awards dinner is our opportunity to showcase this year’s amateur champions for their outstanding performances throughout the competitive season as well as acknowledge and show our appreciation for the effort put forth by all of our volunteers who make our events possible,” says Tom Smith, MGA president.
“In addition, this year we are recognizing three deserving individuals for their incomparable contributions to the game of golf in Minnesota,” Smith adds.
MGA Players of the YearBy 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, 2019 MGA Player of the Year:
Women’s Player of the Year Jasi Acharya, (425 points). Acharya, 35, of Carver, is a member of the Interlachen Country Club. She finished in the top ten four times this season including reaching the finals of the MGA Women’s Match Play Championship, finishing second at the Minnesota Women’s State Open, tying for seventh place at the MGA Women’s Amateur Championship, and, as a fitting end to her tournament season, finishing first at the MGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship.
This is Acharya’s first MGA Women’s Player of the Year honor.
Junior Boys’ Players of the Year Cecil Belisle and Ian Simonich, (230 points). Belisle, 18, of Red Wing, is a member of Mississippi National Golf Links. He finished in first place twice this season including a win as individual champion at the MSHSL Class AA Boys’ State Tournament, and a first place at the Resorters Invitational. Belisle tied for ninth place at the MGA Amateur Championship, finished runner-up with partner Leah Herzog at the MGA Mixed Amateur Team Championship, and qualified for the Minnesota State Open.
Simonich, 16, of Moorhead, is a member of Moorhead Country Club. He earned two individual first-place finishes this season including the Minnesota State Junior Boys’ Championship and the low-individual at the MGA Junior Team Championship, where he also helped his team to the MGA Junior Team title. Simonich, like Belisle, broke into the top ten at the MGA Amateur Championship, where he finished in a tie for seventh place.
This is Belisle's and Simonich’s first MGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year honor.
Senior Women’s Player of the Year Leigh Klasse, (440 points). Klasse, 60, of Woodbury, is a member of University Golf Club. She won twice this season including a first-place finish, with partner Barb Miller, at the MGA Women’s Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship and a win at the MGA Women’s Senior Amateur Championship. Klasse tied for second place at the MGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, finished in fourth place, with partner Betsy Aldrich, at the MGA Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship, and reached the semifinals of the MGA Women’s Senior Amateur Match Play Championship. She qualified for the U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship, and qualified for match play at the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship.
This is Klasse’s tenth-consecutive MGA Senior Women’s Player of the Year honor, her 14th title overall.
Men’s Player of the Year Trent Peterson, (610 points). Peterson, 32, of Eagan, is a member of Valleywood Golf Course. He finished at the top of the leaderboard four times this season including winning the MPGA State Public Links Championship, the MGA Mid-Players’ (match play) Championship, the Minnesota Golf Champions, and the Lyle Cran Shortstop. Peterson reached the semifinals of the MGA Players’ (match play) Championship and finished tied for 11th place at the MGA Amateur Championship. Peterson, with partner Troy Johnson, qualified for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship and tied for second place at the MGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship. He also finished tied for second place at the Twin Cities Championship, finished tied for fifth place at the MPGA Public Links Mid-Amateur Championship, and qualified for the Minnesota State Open.
This is Peterson’s third MGA Men’s Player of the Year honor, his fourth title overall.
Senior Men’s Player of the Year Jerry Rose, (361.67 points). Rose, 61, of Alexandria, is a member of Alexandria Golf Club. Thanks to a high finish (a tie for third) at the weather-delayed MGA Mid-Amateur Championship, Rose jumped three spots on the points list to claim his third-consecutive Senior Men’s Player of the Year title. He prevailed at the MGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship and finished as second low senior at the MGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship, both times paired with fellow senior Jim Lehman. Rose finished in fourth place at the MGA Senior Amateur Championship, made it to the round of 32 at the MGA Players’ (match play) Championship, and advanced to the round of 32 at the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship. He finished in tenth place at the Minnesota Senior Open and qualified for the MGA Senior Player’s (match play) Championship, the MGA Amateur Championship, and the Minnesota State Open.
This is Rose’s third-consecutive MGA Senior Men’s Player of the Year honor.
Junior Girls’ Player of the Year Kathryn VanArragon, (356.25 points). VanArragon, 14, of Blaine, is a member of Minnesota Youth on Course at Bunker Hills Golf Club. She collected five top-ten finishes this summer including a tie for sixth place at the Minnesota Women’s State Open, a tie for fifth place at the Minnesota PGA Junior Girls’ Championship, a lone fourth-place finish at the MSHSL Class AAA Girls’ State Tournament, a tie for third place at the Minnesota State Junior Girls’ Championship, and, the highlight of her tournament season, becoming the youngest champion of the MGA Women’s Amateur Championship.
This is VanArragon’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.
Brian Horgan, PhD is the 2019 MGA Warren J. Rebholz Distinguished Service Award winner. Dr. Horgan, 46, of East Lansing, Mich., is synonymous with turfgrass research in Minnesota and helped establish the University of Minnesota’s TROE Center as one of the finest turfgrass research stations in the U.S. While at the TROE Center, Dr. Horgan developed an extensive postgraduate program which has produced numerous graduates with Masters and Doctoral degrees and has established the University of Minnesota as a mecca of turf academia.
Dr. Horgan was instrumental in forming an alliance between the USGA and the University of Minnesota called “The Science of the Green,” a five-year partnership to study the sustainability of the game of golf. In addition, he was the driver behind the “Natural Capitol Project,” a collaborative effort between the University of Minnesota, Stanford University, The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund. Dr. Horgan recently accepted the chair for the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Additional Award WinnersAwards for the MGA Fritz Corrigan Evans Scholar of the Year, the MGA Member Club of the Year and the inaugural MGA Giles Kobilka Award will be announced during the evening program on Oct. 28. In addition, Hilary (Homeyer) Lunke, an inductee to the 2019 MGA-PGA Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame, will be recognized.
Editor's note: Mike Barge, 65, of Chanhassen, was inducted into the 2019 MGA-PGA Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame Oct. 28 at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. Photos are available at https://www.mngolf.org/News/Minnesota_Golf_Hall_of_Fame_Announces_Class_of_2019.
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 24 major amateur championships and 14 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.