Year of Daniel - The Kentucky PGA Announces the 2023 Players of the Year
LOUISVILLE, KY (November 10, 2023) - The Daniels triumphed this year in the Kentucky PGA Player of the Year Races. Daniel Iceman III, PGA, takes home both the ROLEX Larry Gilbert Player of the Year and the ROLEX Assistant Player of the Year titles. Iceman, an Assistant Professional at Weissinger Hills Golf Course in Shelbyville, wins his first Player of the Year title and fourth Assistant POY. Daniel Utley, PGA, Head Professional at Owl Creek Country Club in Anchorage, rounds out the titles, winning his first ROLEX Senior Player of the Year accolade.
Daniel Iceman had a stellar season this year, competing in ten events throughout 2023. In KPGA-sanctioned tournaments, he finished no worse than T10, winning twice in the Low Professional division - the second Pro-Senior Championship Presented by Wilson Golf in September and the Pro-Pro Series Championship Presented by Golf Pro Payments & TaylorMade Golf Supported by Hole-in-One USA in October. The latter tournament was also his best showing of the year in terms of score, firing rounds of 71-68-139 for a 7-under-par total at Perry Park Golf Resort in Perry Park, KY. Though his most impressive performances came towards the end of the season, Iceman had a fantastic year throughout all of the 2023 season. He triumphs over Summit Hills Country Club Head Professional Tom Walters, PGA, in the POY category by a mere 101 points, with an over 1000 point difference between second and third place. Iceman’s win at the final tournament of the season pushed him to the top after trailing Walters earlier in the year. The Assistants race sees Iceman beat Griffin Gate’s Jeremy Martin by a comfortable margin of 5730 points. Iceman’s season has not quite come to a close, as he will head to Port St. Lucie, Florida, for the 47th National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship from November 16-19.
“Being named Player of the Year in both the Assistants Division and receiving the Larry Gilbert Award is a truly humbling honor. It signifies not only a recognition of my hard work, sacrifices, and unwavering commitment to the sport I love but also the fulfillment of one of the ambitious goals I set for myself at the start of the season—a goal that, at times, seemed almost unattainable,” Iceman expresses. “Throughout the season, I experienced a rollercoaster of highs and lows, each contributing to the refinement and elevation of my game. This journey resulted in some of the most consistent golf I've played in my entire career, and I aim to leverage this success as a catalyst for the challenges that lie ahead in the upcoming season. Anticipating events like the PGA Professional Championship and Assistants Championship fills me with excitement and determination. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to my family, friends, and the dedicated staff at Weissinger Hills. Your unwavering support and words of encouragement have been paramount to this achievement. Without your collective encouragement, this milestone would not have been attainable.”
In his first year in the Senior Division, Daniel Utley had a standout season en route to winning the POY title. He accumulated 8352 points in his seven-tournament season, defeating LaRue County Country Club’s Head Professional Steve Cox by 1178 points. Utley finished in the top five at all seven events, winning two outright and tying for first at another in the Low Senior Professional division. Like Iceman, Utley’s best tournament came at the Pro-Pro Series Championship Presented by Golf Pro Payments & TaylorMade Golf Supported by Hole-in-One USA in October at Perry Park. Firing rounds of 72-71 for a 3-under total, Utley claimed first place by an impressive five shots. Immediately after the conclusion of this tournament, he headed south to Port. St Lucie, Florida, for the Senior PGA Professional Championship. The lone Kentucky pro to play all four days, he compiled a total of 293 to finish in the top 50 of the 264-player field. In both the Commonwealth and out, Utley had a wonderful 2023 season.
"It is certainly an honor to win Senior Player of the Year in the Kentucky PGA Section. It is a culmination of a full season's body of work and for that I am extremely proud,” Utley reflects. “Winning the POY was a goal at the beginning of the year as I transitioned into the Senior ranks so it is gratifying to check off that box on the goal sheet. I haven't really been playing a full slate of events the past several years so it was also a challenge to find time to even compete. As PGA Professionals, our time can get cut short on many days so a big thanks to my wife and family, my membership at Owl Creek Country Club and the Kentucky PGA Section for everything that goes into organizing, executing, and competing in events throughout the state! For next year, I don't think my goals will change much, as I will always try to continue getting better and pushing myself to compete at high levels."
Below are links to access the payouts for the final standings for each Player of the Year Race.
The KPGA congratulates Iceman and Utley on their great seasons and extends its thanks to all who participated in tournaments this year. The 2024 Kentucky PGA tournament schedule will be released in the coming months.
About the Kentucky PGA:
The Kentucky PGA Section (KPGA) is one of forty-one Sections across the country representing the PGA of America and its Members. It is also one of three organizations encompassed within Golf House Kentucky, which also includes the Kentucky Golf Association (KGA) and Kentucky Golf Foundation (KGF). The KPGA contains more than 275 Members and more than 30 Associates working in various roles across Kentucky; all of whom share the goal of bettering the game and its players. The KPGA and its Members assist with the organization of many chief growth-of-the-game initiatives including PGA HOPE and PGA Jr. League among others. The Section also operates more than thirty tournaments throughout the golf season, including the three State Open championships and qualifiers for the Barbasol Championship.
Abby Ligons | Golf House Kentucky | firstname.lastname@example.org