The Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA) has announced the 2016 Players of the Year. Those honored include Men’s Player of the Year, Jared du Toit of Kimberley, B.C.; Women’s, Naomi Ko of Victoria, B.C.; Men’s Mid-Amateur, Reid Hatley of Hayden Lake, Idaho; Women’s Mid-Amateur, Amanda Jacobs of Portland, Ore.; Senior Men’s, Pat O’Donnell, Happy Valley, Ore.; Senior Women’s, Anita Wicks of Roseburg, Ore.; Junior Boys’, Spencer Tibbits of Vancouver, Wash.; and Junior Girls’, Ellie Slama of Salem, Ore.
Click here for a complete history of all past Player of the Year recipients.
Jared du Toit, Men’s Player of the Year
Jared du Toit, who started his college golf career as a member of the University of Idaho men’s golf team before transferring to Arizona State University where he is now a senior, kicked off his impressive 2016 campaign in May with a T25 at the NCAA Regional qualifier in Albuquerque, N.M. Once school was out for the summer, du Toit put on a show that captured the attention of golf fans across the Pacific Northwest. Jared finished T3 at the Monroe Invitational and followed that up with a win at the Glencoe Invitational in mid-June. In between a T8 finish at the Trans-Miss Championship and a T4 at the illustrious Porter Cup, the 21-year-old du Toit made history by finishing T9 at the RBC Canadian Open, against a field of PGA Tour professionals that included Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Jim Furyk, just to name a few. He was the first Canadian to record a top-10 finish at the national championship since Doug Bajus in 1954. Du Toit capped his impressive season with a T15 at the Canadian Men’s Amateur. Jared is a member of the Canadian National Team, and is ranked No. 1 on Golf Canada’s 2016 Men’s National Order of Merit.
Naomi Ko, Women’s Player of the Year
Naomi Ko, an emerging young star in the Canadian women’s golf scene, finished her freshman season last spring as a member of the North Carolina State women’s golf team with a T5 at the Women’s ACC Conference Championship and followed that up in early May by earning medalist honors at the U.S. Women’s Open Qualifier at the PNGA-owned Home Course in DuPont, Wash. Ko secured a spot in July’s LPGA Cambia Portland Classic Open by winning the Cambia Portland Classic Amateur Open in early June before heading across country to compete in the Porter Cup, one week later, where she finished T7. At the 115th PNGA Women’s Amateur in late July, Ko took home medalist honors and finished as runner-up to Princess Superal. Ko capped her impressive year on the Canadian amateur circuit finishing T7 at the Canadian Women’s Amateur and then winning the Canadian Junior Girls’ Championship before heading to Mexico to compete for Team Canada in the World Amateur Team Championship where she finished T6. Ko is also a member of the Canadian National Team. In 2014, she was named the PNGA Junior Girls’ Player of the Year.
Reid Hatley, Men’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year
Reid Hatley was named the Men’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. In mid-July Reid finished in 9th place at the Rosauers Open Invitational, competing against the region’s PGA club professionals. Later that month he made it to the Round of 32 at the PNGA Men’s Amateur at Wine Valley Golf Club. Hatley kicked off his August by earning medalist honors at the U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifier and kept his hot streak going with a win at the Washington State Men’s Mid-Amateur at Gamble Sands. Hatley capped off his strong 2016 campaign by being selected for Team Washington in the USGA Men’s State Team Championship, where he finished T12 individually and helped the team finish T5, its highest finish ever in that national championship. Hatley was also selected as the 2016 WSGA Men’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year.
Amanda Jacobs, Women’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year
This is the second year in a row that Amanda Jacobs has earned Women’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year honors. Jacobs began her 2016 campaign with a 5th place finish at the Oregon Women’s Mid-Amateur held at Pumpkin Ridge and followed it up with a win at the PNGA Women’s Mid-Amateur in late July. Amanda’s most impressive performance of the season came at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, making it to the quarterfinals of the national championship (after making it to the Round of 32 last year).
Pat O’Donnell, Senior Men’s Player of the Year
Pat O’Donnell was arguably the best senior men’s player from the state of Oregon during the 2016 season. O’Donnell placed 3rd at the OGA Senior Tournament of Champions, and won both the Oregon Senior Stroke Play and Oregon Senior Amateur. In early August, O’Donnell competed in the Oregon Senior Open and placed 4th overall, earning low-amateur honors in the process. O’Donnell also qualified to compete in the U.S. Senior Amateur, where he was able to make it to the Round of 64 in the championship proper.
Anita Wicks, Senior Women’s Player of the Year
Anita Wicks had a busy year of amateur golf. She competed in a number of OGA championships highlighted by a fourth place finish at the Oregon Women’s Senior Stroke Play and a victory at the Oregon Women’s Senior Amateur where she was able to fend off defending champion and last year’s PNGA Senior Women’s Player of the Year, Leilani Norman, in 24 holes to bring home the title. Wicks then finished her great season by winning the 2016 PNGA Senior Women’s Amateur.
Spencer Tibbits, Junior Boys’ Player of the Year
Spencer Tibbits had a tremendous year en route to being named the 2016 PNGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year. Spencer won the PNW Junior PGA Championship, Oregon Junior Amateur, Oregon Junior Stroke Play, along with winning the individual title in the Washington State Boys’ High School State Championship for the 3A division. Tibbits, now a senior in high school, finished T13 at the Hogan Cup, T21 at the Junior PGA Championship, T28 at the Junior America’s Cup and qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur. After making it to the Round of 16 at the PNGA Junior Boys’ Amateur, Spencer caddied for PNGA Junior Girls’ Player of the Year, Ellie Slama, as she went on to win the PNGA Junior Girls’ Amateur.
Ellie Slama, Junior Girls’ Player of the Year
For the second consecutive year, Ellie Slama has been named the 2016 PNGA Junior Girls’ Player of the Year with a resume that is hard to believe. Ellie finished T23 at the Junior PGA Championship, T18 at the Girls’ Junior America’s Cup, T7 at the IMG Junior World, 2nd at the Oregon Girls’ Junior Stroke Play and runner-up at the Oregon Girls’ Junior Amateur. She took home the trophy by winning the OGA Girls’ Peter Jacobsen Junior Challenge and the PNW Junior PGA Championship. Slama also earned medalist honors at the PNGA Junior Girls’ Amateur and then followed it up by winning the championship. Ellie also competed in the U.S. Girls’ Junior where she made it to the Round of 64.
The PNGA Player of the Year candidates are nominated by the various state and provincial golf associations that comprise the PNGA (Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington), and are selected by a vote of the PNGA Championship Committee and members of the Northwest Golf Media Association. The Mid-Amateur category was created in 2012. The awards are officially presented at the PNGA Annual Meeting in the spring.