Winter 2019

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18 WINTER 2019 | NCGA.ORG NCGA Senior Women's Player of the Year—Pat Cornett O lympic Club member Pat Cornett has achieved quite a bit during a long and illustrious career. The 64-year-old's resume includes being captain for the 2012 Curtis Cup and competing in over 50 USGA championships. Never, however, had Cornett ever earned Player of the Year status. That is, until now. Cornett won her first NCGA Player of the Year crown, finishing the season with 550 NCGA Super Senior Player of the Year—Ron Johnson E ver since he started playing golf at the age of 12, Ron Johnson has, for the most part, always been "the other guy." In both high school and college, he was the fifth man on his team. That all changed when Johnson turned 60, and it's even more different now. Six decades later, at the age of 72, Johnson is "the guy." The Diablo CC member won his first NCGA Player of the Year title, ending the season with 1,247 points. Herb Jensen, who won the inaugural Super-Senior crown in 2015, was runner-up at 1,038. S H A G B A G The NCGA expresses its gratitude to all of its tournament officials and course raters. Without you, it all doesn't happen! 2018 NCGA Tournament Official of the Year—Joan Caldwell B ack in the early 2000's, Caldwell, now 66, attended a Rules seminar only because it was a requirement to play in the championship of her home club, the LPGA Amateur Golf Association. As fate would have it, veteran Rules official KC Cote taught the class that day. "Afterwards, KC suggested that I should volunteer for the NCGA," Caldwell said. "I took learning the Rules as a challenge and submitted an application, and here I am!" As for what has since evolved into a long run as a tournament official, Caldwell pointed to all of the volunteers, staff, Board members and players who along the way have contributed to her success. Looking ahead, she's already excited for the 2019 season, which will see the unveiling of the new Rules. "While the Rules have changed, many have stayed the same," she said. "I'm here for those who need support sorting them out." 2018 NCGA Course Rater of the Year— Jim Mahaney B ack in the late 1990's, the now 66-year-old Mahaney was a golfer living in the Bay Area. At the time, his wife Mary was good friends with longtime USGA official Sheri Erskine. As things turned out, Erskine eventually convinced her husband, 2003 NCGA Course Rater of the Year John Erskine, to approach Mahaney about becoming a course rater. "Sheri had told my wife,'Why not have Jim sign up?' So I sent in an application. Two years later, I got a call from the NCGA asking if I was interested." Suffice to say, it was a good match. This past year marked Mahaney's 18th as a rater. It was the first year that he worked with raters from the Women's Golf Association of Northern California and the Pacific Women's Golf Association as part of the collaboration between the three entities. "I really enjoyed working with the women last year," Mahaney said. "It's been a lot of fun. I look forward to working with them in the future." points to beat out two-time defending Player of the Year Lynne Cowan by 10 points. "I don't think I've ever been a player of the year in any sport so from that perspective, a first and firsts are always fun!" Cornett said. "To be recognized with a highly competitive group of Northern California senior women is very special. Year after year, our players do well in the national championships and even win (Karen Garcia of Cool won the 2015 U.S. Senior Women's Am). So to be singled out this year is indeed special." Cornett earned 250 points with a third- place finish at the NCGA Senior Women's Am and tacked on another 140 points by reaching the Round of 32 at the U.S. Senior Women's Am. She tallied another 100 points by being exempt for the U.S. Senior Women's Am and finished 10th at the California Senior Women's Am. "Truth be told, last year was so much better getting to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Senior Amateur. It was very disappointing this year to lose in the second round of the USGA Senior Amateur in sudden death," Cornett said. "But on the other hand, it was fun being able to get out and compete and, of course, renewing friendships literally across the world." "It's unbelievable," Johnson said. "To play all my life, and then after the age of 60 to have all this success, it boggles my mind." Johnson had come close before. In 2015, he was runner-up to Jensen in the standings. The last two years, he finished seventh and sixth, respectively, behind California Golf Hall of Famer Gary Vanier. "It's a phenomenal group of guys. We're all still competitive but there's no animosity," Johnson said. "There's a lot of support out there for the person playing well that week." Johnson earned 300 points with his win at the NCGA Super Senior Match Play Championship. Other big gainers were a win at the Merced County Super Senior, a semifinals finish at the San Francisco City Super Senior and a runner-up finish at the State Fair Super Senior. "This season has kind of been a dream come true," he said.

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