University of Toledo golfer Jennifer Elsholz, winner of the Michigan Amateur Championship and the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) Championship, has been named the 2014 GAM Women’s Player of the Year.Elsholz, 21, a senior golfer from Grand Rapids, Mich., and former Forest Hills Eastern High School standout who plays out of Thousand Oaks Golf Club in Grand Rapids, topped the GAM Honor Roll with 625 points.
“It’s a huge honor to be player of the year,” Elsholz said. “It was a great summer for me. I went from thinking I was a good golfer to knowing I am, and I think that now when I get up on the tee.”
“This is an awesome award for Jen,” Head Coach Nicole Hollingsworth said. “She had one of the best summers of any Toledo golfer and all of her hard work has paid off. Having a senior like Jen is so wonderful. She is the total student-athlete who is very successful both on and off the course and works extremely hard. I am so happy and proud.”
Hannah Pietila, a University of Tennessee golfer from Brighton and Huntmoor Golf Club, was second with 609 points.
Lindsey McPherson, a Michigan State University golfer from Flushing and Clio Country Club, was third with 559. University of Wisconsin golfer Kimberly Dinh of Midland and the Michigan Women’s Golf Association, rounded out the top four with 440 points. Complete honor roll standings can be found here.
Elsholz made a key birdie on the 17th hole at Spring Lake Country Club to win the 23rd GAM Women’s Championship early in the summer. A first-round 69 powered the one-shot win over three golfers — Sarah Hoffman of Saline, Pietila and McPherson.
Later in the season, she again made a key birdie on the 17th hole, this time in the 98th Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship at the University of Michigan Golf Course. She hit a wedge shot to inside three feet for the birdie and turned back McPherson 2 and 1 in the championship match. In the semifinals, Elsholz battled from a three-down deficit with four birdies on the back nine to top Dinh 1-up.
“I played my best golf at the end of the tournament and learned so much about my game,” she said. “The last match, out there with Lindsey with everyone watching us, there was a lot of pressure. It helped me so much to figure out how to deal with that and still play good golf.”
Elsholz carried her hot summer into the fall where she was Mid-American Conference Golfer of the Week after a fourth-place individual showing in the Mary Fossum Invitational at Michigan State’s Forest Akers West Golf Course. She said she is considering a professional golf career after she graduates with a degree in psychology in May.
“I’ve talked with my parents and coaches and it is definitely higher up on the option list,” she said. “This year, winning those two championships, changed things. I realize how good I can be at it, and how much I want to keep going with it.”
The Golf Association of Michigan was founded in 1919 and is the governing body for amateur golf in the state. As a not-for-profit organization, its purpose is to represent, promote, preserve and serve the best interests of the game. The association provides membership and a myriad of services to more than 60,000 golfers and more than 400 golf courses. It also conducts 19 amateur championships and oversees 14 USGA qualifying events.