Author: Jesse Dodson
The annual Utah Section PGA Omega Player of the Year Awards are based off competitive play in the full-season of Utah PGA events and affiliated opens. The 2018 Omega Player of the Year goes to Davis Park Golf Course Assistant Professional Zach Johnson, who also won the Assistant Player of the Year. The Senior Player of the Year goes to Ryan Rhees, head professional at The Oaks at Spanish Fork and the first-ever Women’s Player of the Year belongs to Glenmoor Golf Course Head Professional Darci Dehlin-Olsen.
It seems fitting that in the same year The PGA of America elects its first women president in Suzy Whaley, the Utah Section PGA awards its first-ever Omega Women’s Player of the year to Olsen. The number of women members in the PGA and the Utah Section is continually growing and Olsen is in the forefront of 2018 winning two of the four events. Olsen started the year with a victory in the Red Rock Golf Trail Winter Classic in February and bookended the year with her second win at the Section Championship at Toana Vista Golf Club in September.
“Our Section is getting more and more women working in the golf business,” said Utah PGA Tournament Director Aaron Goodman. “I think having a Women’s Player of the Year is an awesome thing and will likely be a competitive race for years to come. I’m confident that we have some players that will do well representing Utah on a National PGA stage as well.”
Since 2014, Johnson has had two runner-up finishes and two third-place finishes in the Player of the Year race. 2018 was his year as his consistent play in 14 events earned him the number one spot. Johnson secured the title by claiming the Section Championship. The lowest he finished was T12 with the rest of his events finishing in the top 10. An appearance at the 2018 PGA Championship served as icing on the cake for a tremendous year of play.
Rhees, a stalwart competitor in the Utah Section, topped the Omega Senior Division playing in 15 events and winning twice. Rhees had a successful May with claiming both his victories at The Oaks Open and the TNT Auction Rose Park Open. With three runner-up finishes and qualifying for the 2018 Senior PGA Professional Championship, Rhees shined in 2018.
“It’s not easy winning this award,” continued Goodman. “First you need to be a great player and do everything that comes with that. Second, you need to play in everything that has points attached to it. It’s difficult to work your full-time job, have a family and still fit in all the Opens and Section tournaments. Missing one event is often cause to lose a lead in this season-long race.”