By Megan Huntsman, Programs Administrator
For the third consecutive season, the Utah Golf Association has named four-time Utah Women’s State Amateur Champion, Kelsey Chugg, the 2017 UGA Player of the Year for her significant achievements on both a state and national level.
In the final match of the 111th Utah Women’s State Amateur Championship at Davis Park Golf Course, Kelsey took a 2-up victory over BYU’s Anna Kennedy to earn her fourth Utah Women’s State Amateur title. She clinched the round of 16 victory over Weber State’s Kiselya Plewe in 21 holes and outlasted defending champion Kendra Dalton in 19 holes in the quarterfinals. The idea that Kelsey might collect her fourth Utah Women’s State Amateur win came after nearly making double eagle on Davis Park’s par-5 No. 10—twice. After fighting off a rally by Kennedy, with a big drive that led to an easy par on No. 18, Chugg clinched the title by playing a total of 76 holes in four matches.
The highlight of Kelsey’s career came when she defeated Mary Jane Hiestand, 58, of Naples, Florida, at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas, to win her first USGA national championship and earn exemptions into to the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek, the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur at the Golf Club of Tennessee and the 2018 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur at Norwood Hills.
After a rough start to the week with a 13-over-par 85 during the first round of stroke play qualifying, Chugg rebounded in the final round with an even-par 72 to earn the No. 50 seed for match play. She defeated two of the three competing co-medalists on her way to the final match and capped her charge with a 3-and-1 victory on the 17th hole over No. 56 seed Hiestand.
Becoming a national champion has opened many new and exciting doors for Kelsey. She is competing in the South American Amateur at Martindale Country Club in Buenos Aires, Argentina, January 12-16, 2018. She also will be honored at the USGA’s inaugural Celebration of Champions at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, host of the 2018 U.S. Open, where she will have the opportunity to play four holes of alternate shot at Shinnecock with a male USGA champion the day before the championship.
“It is unbelievable and a dream come true to be a USGA national champion,” expressed Chugg. “I have had so much support from the golf community, my friends and family and my coaches over my golfing career; I am so happy to bring home a national championship for them. Earning my way into the U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Women’s Amateur, U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur and various international events is so exciting, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
In addition to her achievements on a state and national level as a competitive golfer, Kelsey continues doing great things for the Utah Golf Association as membership director, implementing new programs and member benefits along with streamlining online registration. Whether she is on the golf course or in a golf office, Kelsey cannot seem to get enough of the greatest game ever played.