GAM PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kimberly Dinh
Midland’s Kimberly Dinh Tops 2021 Golf Association of Michigan Women’s Points List
FARMINGTON HILLS – Kimberly Dinh of Midland looked over her summer golf statistics with her coach, PGA professional Kyle Martin of The Fortress in Frankenmuth, and they noticed across-the-board improvement.
“It’s crazy to think I’m a better player now than at the end of my college career when I was playing all the time,” she said. “It’s cool and motivating to know there is a little more out there.”
Dinh, 29, topped the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) Points List and has been named the 2021 GAM Women’s Player of the Year, Ken Hartmann senior director of competitions and USGA services for the GAM, announced today.
Player of the Year point totals can be found on a pull down from the PLAY tab at GAM.org. Over the next few weeks the GAM will announce more Players of the Year in gender and age categories.
Dinh, a GAM member through Midland Country Club, keyed her season by winning the Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship, reaching the round of 16 in match play in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship and finishing second in the GAM Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship.
The Senior Research Specialist for Dow Chemical in her hometown of Midland, she played in just four tournaments using her four weeks of vacation from work – two GAM championships and two USGA championships – but totaled 860 points for the season.
Mikaela Schulz of West Bloomfield and a member through Tam O’Shanter Country Club, was second with 625 points. The University of Michigan golfer won the GAM Women’s Championship and was runner-up to Dinh in the Michigan Women’s Amateur.
Chelsea Collura of Riverview, a member through West Shore Golf & Country Club, was third with 335 points. Oakland University senior golfer Veronica Haque of Rochester (315) and Northern Illinois University golfer Jasmine Ly of Windsor and Sylvan Glen Golf Course (305) rounded out the top five.
Dinh, who played college golf at the University of Wisconsin and then played zero competitive golf during five years of graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), said winning the Michigan Amateur was the highlight of the summer and her golf career to this point.
She won a tense 1-up match with Schulz at Saginaw Country Club. She rifled a 178-yard hybrid shot inside 10-feet and made par on the long par-4 18th while Schulz made bogey.
“Winning that tournament has always been one of my top goals, and to hit that shot at 18 against a great opponent in a tough match with the pin tucked was just very exciting,” she said. “I was able to execute under pressure. It was nice to see and rewarding, too.”
Dinh was surprised she won Player of the Year. She admitted she didn’t pay attention to the points because she assumed playing in four tournaments would not be enough.
“I didn’t realize I was in the running,” she said. “I’m pretty excited I won. I didn’t compete much, but I played well when I did. I practiced when I could, worked with Kyle on specific things and it paid off.”
She plans to play a similar schedule next summer and is excited for the opportunity to make another run in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur.
“I played even-par golf the whole week and it really came down to missing a short putt and a couple of timely bogeys,” she said. “Overall I played well. I went in thinking I could win this year, and I know it’s a possibility. I’m certainly going to try.”
Hartmann said Dinh winning Player of the Year off of four tournaments is an impressive accomplishment.
“Especially now that she is working,” he said. “It’s tough to compete with the younger players who have more opportunities to play and more time to practice. She has found a way. She is gifted with intelligence, works hard on her game when she can and takes nothing for granted. It looks like she has taken the successful approach to her academics and applied it to her golf.”