Mountain & Midwest

Members First: Meet your PGA Mountain & Midwest Region Team

PGA of America hires 3 new consultants to complete a team of 6 industry experts to support the professional development, operational excellence, and future success of the Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rocky Mountain, and Utah PGA Sections

Frisco, TX (June 22, 2022) – The Mountain & Midwest Region covers 6 PGA Sections and all or part of 14 different states.  The Regional Model was designed to ensure that resources, conversations, and collaboration are happening at the grassroots level where Sections, PGA Members, and Associates live and work.  Through intentional collaboration in critical member-centric services, the Member & Section Operations Department will deliver on the PGA’s mission to “Serve the Member, and Grow the Game” In support of that initiative, the PGA of America’s Member & Section Operations department announces the addition of 3 new Career Consultants in the Minnesota, Rocky Mountain/Utah, and Nebraska/Iowa Sections of the Mountain & Midwest Region to augment the Regional Director, Recruiting Specialist, and Player Engagement Consultant already serving the region. 

Meet the team:

Keith Soriano, PGA | Regional Director | Mountain & Midwest Region

Following 5 years as the Career Consultant for the Colorado and Utah PGA Sections, Keith has assumed the role of Regional Director for the Mountain & Midwest Region.  In this new role, he will lead the team of consultants who serve the M&M Region as well as serve as the career consultant for the Colorado Section. An Army Brat, Keith had 11 home addresses before the age of 18.  Following graduation from the University of Colorado, Keith has spent the last 22 years in the golf industry in Colorado, which makes Colorado home now.  He has served in multiple roles including Assistant Executive Director, Director of Golf, Head Golf Professional, Assistant Professional, Tournament Director, Sales & Marketing Director and High School Coach.  Keith is also a 3-time Section award winner and previous board member.  He believes strongly that golf can be used to have a positive impact in people’s lives and communities around the world, and that PGA Professionals are the most critical element in that ecosystem.

An advocate for continuous personal and professional development, Keith recently earned his MBA from Louisiana State University and was the first PGA Member in the Association to become a Certified Professional in all 7 career paths through the PGA’s Lifelong Learning program.  Keith and his wife of 15 years, Holli, live in the northern suburbs of Denver with their daughters Delaney and Ellie.  When not working, Keith enjoys fly fishing, pheasant hunting, and cheering on the Colorado Avalanche and his beloved, albeit underachieving, Colorado Buffaloes.

Mike Aldrich, PGA | Player Engagement Consultant | Mountain & Midwest Region

Mike is proud to be a member of the Mountains & Midwest Region as the Player Engagement Consultant, with a varied background in multiple Sections over his 28 years as a Golf Professional. Most recently, he was the Director of Player Development at Bluegrass Yacht & Country Club just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, where he increased the instruction revenue from $8000 to $104,000 in three years, and is proud to have less than a 3% resignation from his students against the 17% attrition rate of the entire membership. Before that, Mike was a Player Development Regional Manager serving the Middle Atlantic Region.

Mike just celebrated his 30th Wedding Anniversary with his wife Laura, who runs Licensing for the Property Brothers, and has two grown daughters, Emily, who is a Quality Engineer and Molly, who is a litigation assistant. Mike spends his spare time learning about human behavior and the golf swing, and tries to put a fly in the water whenever a moment presents itself. If you’d like to hear about his decade in endurance sports, just mention cycling, swimming or running and he’d be happy to regale you his 2011 Ironman Finish in Coeur d’Alene.  Mike wakes up every morning excited to help his fellow professionals create lives that are personally and financially rewarding.

Kate Drimel, PGA | Recruiting Specialist | Mountain & Midwest Region

PGA Professional Kate Drimel serves as a PGA Career Services Recruiting Specialist, proudly serving the Mountain region. Born and raised in Minnesota, she was exposed to the game and business of golf as a second generation PGA Member.  She has worked across many sectors within the golf industry, from private and public green grass facilities to digital marketing companies and the Minnesota PGA Section. Kate holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration Marketing Management from the University of St. Thomas, where she played for the golf team. She has earned several golf scholarships, including the Minnesota PGA Assistants Chapter Associates Scholarship, an Academic Scholarship from the PGA of America and was named an All-American Scholar by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association.

Andrea Kloppman-Heit, PGA | Career Consultant | Minnesota Section

Andrea joins the Career Services team as a Career Consultant in Minnesota Section after a 17 year career that includes positions as a PGA Head Golf Professional, Assistant Golf Professional, Golf Coach, Independent Instructor, Merchandiser/Buyer, and Sales Representative.  A native of Eau Clair, WI, Andrea graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing. An instrumental player for the UWEC women’s golf team that finished in 3rd Place in the NCAA DIII National Championship, Andrea was the 36th ranked player in the nation.  Following graduation, Andrea began her professional career as an Assistant Professional at HIllcrest Golf Club of St. Paul.  Following HIllcrest, Andrea moved on to Southview Country Club in West St. Paul where she served as an Assistant and later promoted to the Head Golf Professional position. Her extensive experience will be a tremendous asset as she serves the PGA Members, Associates, and Industry Partners in the Minnesota Section.  Andrea and her husband, PGA Professional Brent Heit, reside in Hudson, WI with their son Hogan and dog Snoopy.

Lucas Brick, PGA | Career Consultant | Rocky Mountain & Utah Sections

Lucas joins the Career Services team after 12 years as a PGA Professional in the Rocky Mountain Section, most recently serving as the Head Golf Professional at the Valley Club in Sun Valley, Idaho. During his time in the Rocky Mountain Section, Lucas served in various leadership roles, including Secretary, Vice President, and President of the Snake River Chapter. He also served six years as a Board Member of the Rocky Mountain Section, as well as on several committees. Lucas is a two time Section award winner, including the 2018 Player Development Award and the 2021 Professional Development Award. Lucas resides in Hailey, Idaho with his wife Lindsay and children Xander (3) and Pippa (1). When away from the course, Lucas enjoys spending time with his family outdoors, hiking, fishing and skiing.

Kevin Drew, PGA | Career Consultant | Iowa & Nebraska Sections

A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Kevin joins the Career Services team on the heels of a 11 year career at green grass, most recently spending 8 years as the PGA Head Golf Professional at the Field Club of Omaha.  As a graduate of the PGA Golf Management Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Kevin spent a year in the Colorado Section before returning home to the Nebraska Section to take on the first of his two head professional positions he’s held.  In addition to his responsibilities at the club, Kevin has served the Nebraska Section as Secretary and spent two terms on the Nebraska PGA Tournament Committee.  Kevin is passionate about building relationships with fellow professionals and assisting PGA Professionals and Associates in the Iowa and Nebraska Sections with their employment and career development for many years to come.  When not on the golf course, Kevin enjoys riding his Peloton bike and cheering on the Cornhuskers with his wife Lisa, daughter Baylor, (with another on the way!), and two dogs.     

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Women’s Golf Day Celebrated at Glenmoor Golf Club

By Randy Dodson

Nearly 100 women enjoyed golf clinics, lunch, keynote speakers and camaraderie at the annual Women’s Golf Day event at Glenmoor Golf Club, June 7th.

Joining Glenmoor golf instructors (Photo left to right) Tess Blair, Alanna Beagley, Head PGA Professional Daric Olsen, keynote speaker Sharlene Wells, Sirene Blair, Denise Larsen and the Utah Golf Hall of Fame’s Sue Nyhus were the South Valley Chamber Women in Business leaders.

Glenmoor GC Head PGA Professional Darci Olsen, the organizer of the event said, “We chose the Women of the World Foundation as the event’s charitable cause this year. They help women refugees learn English, find housing, get schooling, and employment options.”

The Utah Golf Association’s Lisa Imamura and intern Taegan Keep were on hand to help inform women on the importance of GHIN handicaps, a UGA membership, tournaments and playing opportunities.

Speakers included Samira Harnish, the founder of Women of the World. Harnish came to the United State 41 years ago as a refugee and started Women of the World to support other women in like circumstances. South Jordan Mayor Dawn Ramsey spoke about Arnold Palmer and building character.

Sharlene Wells, Miss America 1984, and a former sports broadcaster for ESPN also spoke. In 2015 Hawkes was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Defense to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Armed Forces. She spoke of her experiences and how women can be bold and still smile, and the importance of  learning to play golf for women in upper management positions. She spoke of her own playing experiences including one of her earliest rounds played with Bob Hope, Johnny Miller and President Ford.

Olsen said, “We were able to raise $2,000. The South Valley Chamber and another local business in attendance generously matched our funds. We were be able to give the Women of the World foundation $4,000. It was a great day of growing the game, giving back and celebrating Women.”

Women’s Golf Day is a global celebration of women and girls in golf. Now in its 7th year, WGD unites people across the globe through golf. Starting in Australia and ending in French Polynesia, events took place for 24 hours straight. Events were held in every continent, apart from Antarctica. 

The events allow a simple and accessible platform to build a golf foundation and skills that will last a lifetime. It creates a network to support the continuation of golf no matter what skill level or interest, while engaging women in an empowering initiative with global impact from a local level. The event transcends race, gender, religion, language, geography or economic status.

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Utah Juniors Qualify for Junior PGA Championship at Cog Hill

The 2022 Junior PGA Championship hosted at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Illinois will have four Utah junior golfers, two boys and two girls, who qualified through the Utah Junior PGA Championship at Soldier Hollow Golf Course in Midway, Utah June 13-14.

Looking at the scoreboard alone, you wouldn’t guess the competitors battled through rainy and windy conditions. Alpine’s Cooper Jones shot rounds of (-17) 64-63 to qualify for the championship at Cog Hill. Runner-up, and high school teammate Kihei Akina also put together two rounds in the 60’s with an (-11) 68-65 to snag the second qualifying spot.

“It’s exciting to get in,” Jones said of qualifying. “I haven’t played in it before so I’m excited to get out there. To play a PGA Tour venue is sweet.”

Cooper Jones

Jones put together two bogey-free rounds and was six-under through nine holes in the final round. “Nothing was off, it was just simple golf,” he added.

“Everything was solid all around,” Akina said of his play, “didn’t have too many bogeys and I took care of the par-fives. “It feels good to qualify, I’m excited to go play. If I can play well there, it shows me I can get to the PGA Tour one day like some of the past champions have.”

Kihei Akina

Ali Mulhall is at it again by winning back-to-back Utah Junior PGA Championships. With rounds of (-9) 67-68 she’ll be making her second-consecutive appearance in the Junior PGA Championship.

Ali Mulhall

This time, however, a sudden-death playoff was needed with Sunbin Seo, who also finished T2 in the 2021 Utah championship, to determine a winner.

Seo had rounds of (-9) 66-69 to claim the second qualifying spot and force a playoff with Mulhall.

Sunbin Seo

With a birdie on the first playoff hole, Mulhall took the top spot.

“It almost doesn’t feel real to compete on the same courses as Tour professionals, because I’m just a junior,” Mulhall said about Cog Hill, “but it’s nice to have that opportunity.”

Mulhall won her age division in the 2021 Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta National and has also qualified to compete in Japan this September in the Professional Long Drivers Ladies World Championship.

Berlin Long (1st alternate)

Seo was undecided on whether she will be able to play in the Junior PGA Championship. If she does not attend, the first alternate is Berlin Long, who finished third with rounds of (-8) 68-68. She also represented Utah in the 2021 Junior PGA Championship.




Utah PGA Jr. Series Major Season Begins with Glenmoor Major; Ofahengaue & Kim earn State Am Spots

The 2022 Utah PGA Junior Series Major season is here, beginning with the Glenmoor Jr. Major played June 10-11 at Glenmoor Golf Club, where two Utah State Amateur exemptions and spots in the season-final Promontory Major were up for grabs.

The 36-hole championship was highlighted by the two available exemptions into the 2022 Utah State Amateur, the longest continuously-running golf championship in the world. The exemptions were available for the boys 15-18 divisions.

Lehi’s KJ Ofahengaue, the Boys Major Player of the Year in 2021, lead the way the entire time with rounds of (-11) 68-65 to claim the first spot in the Utah State Amateur and win the boys 17-18 division.

KJ Ofahengaue

“I kept the ball in play, hit my wedges good, made a lot of putts and had no bogies today,” Ofahengaue said. “I can’t wait for the State Am. That’s a big tournament and I’m looking forward to it.”

Murray’s Peter Kim made a final-round charge with a (-5) 67, leaving him at 7-under for the event to finish runner-up and claim the second spot into the State Am.

Peter Kim and his caddie

“I hit a lot of fairways and gave myself a lot of looks for birdies today,” Kim said. “I haven’t played the State Am, this will be my first time so I’m pretty excited about that.”

Rounding out the boy’s division champions, St. George’s Boston Bracken went (-6) 70-68 to win the boys 15-16 division, two-shots clear of runner-up Noah Moody (-2). There was a three-way tie for third between Will Blanchard, Jackson Shelley and Lincoln Markham at 1-under. All five qualified for the Promontory Major Championship.

Boston Bracken

Matching the low round of the tournament, Jaxon Erickson shot a final round (-7) 65 to win the boys 13-14 division at 7-under, shooting even the first day. Tyse Boman (E) finished 2nd and Mo LeCheminant (+2) finished 3rd.

Jaxon Erickson

Erickson, Boman and LeCheminant were all members of the 2021 PGA Jr. League Thanksgiving Point championship team.

Rounding out the Promontory qualifiers for the Boys 13-14 division is Thomas Seaquist and Ian Miyasaki.

It was a come-from-behind victory for Pati Uluave (+8) in the girls 17-18 division, earning the championship by one-stroke over Millie Terrion (+9). A steady streak of three birdies on the front and a run of six pars on the back seemed to do the trick for Uluave.

Pati Uluave

Jane Olson (+11) finished third and Ellie DeMond (+18) filled the last qualifying spot for Promontory in the division.

Ashley Lam had rounds of (+5) 73-76 to win the girls 15-16 division. And if there were a competition between the girls ages 15-18, she would have won that, too.

Ashley Lam and her caddie/father Dat

Lam will join Madalyn Hadley, Reimi Bleyl and Adley Nelson in August at the Promontory Major Championship.

Last, and certainly not least, is Kate Walker of St. George, who has yet to lose a Utah PGA event she has competed in. She starts 2022 off strong with rounds of (+9) 75-81 to win the girls 13-14 division.

Kate Walker

Natalie Mclane, Stratton Durrant and Remi Rawlings fill out the top five and earn a spot in the season-ending championship.

Thank you to all who played and especially to Glenmoor Head Professional Darci Olsen for hosting our first Major of the season. The course was in near-perfect conditions thanks to Superintendent Joey Olsen and his staff.

Full Results