Tereshko and Walker Headline KGA's 2023 Players of the Year
LOUISVILLE, KY (November 17, 2023) - The Kentucky Golf Association is pleased to announce its 2023 Players of the Year, with four gentlemen and three ladies receiving these titles through a combination of top local events, as well as the USGA National Championships.
Lexington’s Justin Tereshko receives the 2023 John C. Owens Player of the Year title, the top award for male golfers in the Commonwealth, in addition to the Herbie McGuire Player of the Year title for the top male mid-am player. These accolades are added to the list of Tereshko’s accomplishments throughout a stellar 2023 that included two major wins. Placing no worse than fourth in local events this year, he added his first win in June at the 109th Kentucky State Amateur Championship. Contested at Kearney Hill Golf Links, he totaled 9-under for the three-day event to clinch the title by one. Tereshko continued his fantastic play just over a month later at the Kentucky Open presented by Persimmon Ridge Golf Club in late July, dominating the competition en route to a nine-shot lead and 16-under total. With these two back-to-back wins, Tereshko became just the fourth person in Kentucky golf history to win both the Kentucky State Amateur and Kentucky Open in the same year. Closing his year by reaching the semi-final matches at the KGA Match Play Championship and competing in the 123rd U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills, Tereshko returned for his second season as Head Coach for the men’s golf team at Eastern Kentucky University.
When reflecting on the year, Tereshko conveys its importance: “It is such an honor to be named the KGA POY. Some of the names I joined on the KY Am trophy, like Steve Flesh, Ted Schulz, Gay Brewer, and Jodie Mudd, are incredible. The Jack Ryan trophy will have the names Justin Tereshko and Byron Nelson on it. That may be the coolest thing I have ever done in golf! Having my name on the same trophy as one of the greatest golfers to ever live is truly a dream come true. This past summer was the best golf I have ever played in my life. Looking back, I could not have asked for one better thing to happen. The state am win at Kearney was very special since I had lost in a playoff at Hunting Creek in the state am in 2018.” In terms of his success at the Kentucky Open, Tereshko credits his switch to a L.A.B putter, by adding “confidence on the greens which I had lacked in previous years”, in addition to switching to a yellow golf ball thanks to Chip McDaniel, something he encourages all players to try.
Moving into 2024, he is “looking forward to next year's AM & Open. The state am is at Traditions, where I had an allergic reaction to a bush and blew a lead in the state mid am a few years ago, so it will be nice to try to get some redemption there. The KY Open is at Univ of Louisville GC; I was an assistant coach at UofL for two years, so I love that place! Cannot wait for next summer to get here. I have one of the best jobs in the world, and I love doing it. I am so thankful that I have a wife and kids who allow me to still play competitively. I also have the best bosses in the world at EKU for letting me continue to play! Roll Kerns.”
Sweeping achievements continue on the women’s side, with Prospect’s Taryn Walker claiming both the Female Kentucky Player of the Year (Marion Miley) and the Female Mid-Am Player of the Year. Walker competed in three local events this year, finishing no worse than seventh. Her success began immediately this year, as she won her first outing, the KGA Women’s Stroke Play Championship in June. Hosted by Oxmoor Country Club, Walker fired rounds of 73-67-140 to total 4-under par and win by two. She followed her win with a seventh-place finish the next week at the Kentucky Women’s Amateur Championship, and a fourth-place finish at the Kentucky Women’s Open in July. Walker then turned to national competition, and traveled to Pennsylvania for the 36th U.S. Women’s Mid-Am Championship in September. Rounds of 71-73 in stroke play qualifying helped her to the 11th seed for match play, where she eventually made it to the quarterfinals.
“I worked on my game this summer harder than I have in several years. My kids (now ages 7 and 5) are now at the age where I can start getting away a little more. I've worked with my swing coach, Mike Campbell, for over 25 years, and we put a lot of work into my swing to prepare for these events,” Walker says. “I didn't have a lot of expectations going into the summer, but anytime I tee it up to compete, I get the fire back inside of me and want to win. I've always been super competitive, and that has never left me, even as I've aged. I'm honored to win POY, and I'm already ready for next year. I have some big goals of qualifying for some more USGA events as well as competing in KY Am tournaments.”
Vine Grove’s Rodney Chancey adds yet another KGA award to his collection for 2023, taking the Tom Musselman Player of the Year title (men ages 50-59), in addition to grabbing the KGA Senior Am Series Net Player of the Year back in September. Competing in eight events this year and finishing in the top three in six of them, Chancey accumulated 1,244 points throughout 2023. His two standout tournaments in terms of gaining points occurred in back-to-back months, with the KGA Senior Team Championship in July and the Kentucky Senior Amateur Championship in August. Alongside partner Davis Boland, the duo claimed a playoff victory at Oldham County Country Club after a two-day total of 9-under par. Chancey then followed with a T2 finish at the Kentucky Senior Amateur Championship at the Country Club of Paducah in August, firing rounds of 69-76-145. Chancey finished his season with a mix of second and third-place finishes.
|“I am genuinely humbled and honored to be receiving the Tom Musselman award. I have been extremely lucky to have so much support from my wife, family, and golf community. I'd also like to acknowledge the incredible talent and sportsmanship of my fellow competitors. Golf is a game that demands respect and integrity, and I've had the privilege of sharing the course with some of the finest individuals,” Chancey reflects. “Winning this award was at the top of my list of goals this year, but being truthful, I didn't know if I could pull it off. There are so many immensely talented golfers who are equally deserving of this award, but I just figured if I played solid throughout the year, I would at least be in the conversation. I'd be very remiss if I failed to mention the KGA and the outstanding work they do putting on such events. Their dedication to growing the game of golf and giving us a stage to compete is very much appreciated. They always put forth a great effort in supplying us with great venues to participate, and the events are always run very well. Thank you Sally Morgan, Mike Vick, and the rest of the Golf House KY, for a great year!”|
Despite extensive travel outside the Commonwealth, Martha Leach of Hebron claims the Female Senior Player of the Year (Anne Combs) honors. Leach garnered points from two USGA events this year - the U.S. Women’s Senior Open and the U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur. Leach first headed to Waverley Country Club in Oregon in August, placing 18th at the Women’s Senior Open. After a tough first-round 77, Leach played incredibly steady golf the final three days, with each round being a 1-over 73 en route to a total of 8-over for the tournament. Leach then traveled to Troon Country Club in Arizona the next month for the Women’s Senior Amateur. Despite narrowly reaching the match play finals, Leach made it to the quarterfinal matches, helping reach her 2,950 points in the Women’s Senior Points Standings.
"I, like all the Kentucky Golf Association Player of the Year winners, am honored and humbled to receive this award at this stage of my career,” Leach expresses. “2023 was a good year for my golf as I experienced success after working for two years on swing changes. Definitely light at the end of the tunnel! The US Senior Women's Open was definitely a highlight for me, especially playing two days with the eventual champion Trish Johnson and finishing tied for 18th, earning an exemption to next year's Open. Hopefully, my 2023 golf success is a harbinger for 2024!”
Competing in 15 events this season and placing in the top ten in 13 of them, Lexington’s David Rudder wins the 2023 Dale Barnstable Player of the Year Award for male players ages 60-69. Rudder’s season stretched from April to September as he continually posted steady rounds to garner 1,171 points, 211 clear of second place. His two best outings came at opposite ends of the bulk of the season, with the Kentucky Team Championship in early May and the 5th KGA Amateur Series event of the year in late August. Placing second in both tournaments, Rudder fired a 71 in May alongside partner Greg Engle, matching that score on his own later that season. Additionally, Rudder advanced to the semi-final matches at the Match Play Championships in early August at Cherry Blossom Golf Club.
“The Player of the Year Honor is something very special, and it means a lot to me. It was a season of some very nice memories, and winning this Year’s Player of the Year award is something I will always remember. There are so many talented players who compete in the tournaments throughout the season, and I have much admiration and respect for all of them. Congratulations to all the players who won various events during the year, and I cannot say enough about the friendships that we all get to enjoy as well,” voices Rudder. “In addition, we, as players, are very fortunate to have a State Golf Association like the one here in Kentucky. We have the benefit of a great tournament schedule, and this season would not be possible without all of the hard work and efforts of the staff and officials at the Kentucky Golf Association. I believe I speak for all players in saying thank you to the Kentucky Golf Association, and it is with much excitement that we look forward to next year’s tournament season!”
The last female POY award goes to Joan Waldrop of Elizabethtown, who claims the Bettie Lou Evans title for Female Super Senior Player of the Year. Waldrop competed in three events this year that garnered points, including the Kentucky Women’s Senior Amateur Championship hosted by Woodson Bend Resort September 12-13. She finished in the top three at each tournament, with her third-place finish in a 20-woman field at the Senior Am winning her the most points at 336. She totaled 688 points on the year, claiming first by a narrow eight points over Charlotte Logsdon.
“At my age of 75, it is just a great pleasure to be able to play and compete. It has been a joy to meet people and make friends through golf (thank you, Cookie Whitehouse) and the added benefit of visiting parts of Kentucky that I probably would not have seen except for golf. For example, Somerset, Owensboro, and Versailles, to name a few,” Waldrop conveys. “Over the years, I had the privilege of playing with past Kentucky champions, Beth Curlin, Susan Stewart, Ann Combs, and Marsha Bordas and watch up-and-coming younger players at the Marion Miley in Lexington. Golf is a great game, playable at any age and anywhere."
Rounding out the awards for 2023 is Elmo Greer of London, claiming the Don Smith Player of the Year title for male players aged 70 and older. Greer placed in the top ten at all 13 events he played this year, winning two - the KY Team Championship and the KGA Amateur Series #4. He won his second-highest amount of points at the latter event after shooting a 67, with the most coming from his last event of the year, the Kentucky Mid-Amateur Championship. Greer put together rounds of 76-75-151 for a second-place finish at the tournament, hosted by Heritage Hill Golf Club. Overall, Greer earned 1,459, beating out second-place finisher Jim Caudill by just three.
“I’m very honored to have won the POY award this year, especially when our division has so many great men and good players,” Greer notes. “I really enjoyed the season-long competition where you have to play your best at each tournament. I look forward to next season and once again teeing it up with a great group of guys who love this very special game!”
The Kentucky Golf Association congratulates the winners and extends its thanks to all participants throughout a fantastic 2023 season. The 2024 schedule will be released in the coming months.
About the Kentucky Golf Association:
The Kentucky Golf Association (KGA) is one of the three organizations encompassed under Golf House Kentucky, in addition to the Kentucky Golf Foundation (KGF) and Kentucky PGA Section (KPGA). The Kentucky Golf Association represents the amateur body of Kentucky’s golfers working in assistance with the United States Golf Association (USGA). The KGA provides a wide range of services, including handicapping, USGA course and slope ratings, and tournament management software to its Member Clubs. The KGA also operates the state’s premier amateur tournaments along with USGA National Championship qualifiers. Alongside the KGF and KPGA, the KGA strives to promote the benefits and enjoyment of golf while continuing to grow the sport across the Commonwealth.
Abby Ligons | Golf House Kentucky | firstname.lastname@example.org | (502) 792-9703