Morard, Pritchett also honored
Four repeat winners and two first-timers have been named 2022 Alabama Amateur Players of the Year by the Alabama Golf Association.
Gordon Sargent (Men), Kathy Hartwiger (Senior Women), Nick Dunlap (Junior Boys) and Molly Brown Davidson (Junior Girls) repeat as Players of the Year while Michaela Morard (Women) and Shaw Pritchett (Senior Men) are first-time Players of the Year in their respective categories.
The Alabama Amateur Players of the Year are the top-ranked individuals in each of six categories at the end of the calendar year based on the AGA’s state amateur ranking system – except for the two junior Players of the Year awards, which utilize a September-August calendar year.
The Men’s Player of the Year Award was first created in 1994 to honor Alabama amateur golfers who had exceptional individual tournament performances during the year. Since then, the awards have been expanded to include Women (2010), Senior Men (2016), Senior Women (2016), Junior Boys (2017), and Junior Girls (2017).
Seven Alabama Men’s Players of the Year have competed on the PGA Tour or PGA Tour Champions. Notable past award winners include Garrett Osborn (2000), Patton Kizzire (2003), Bobby Wyatt (2011-2012), Michael Johnson (2013), and Robby Shelton IV (2015).
Kathy Hartwiger holds the most Player of the Year Awards with six total across two categories – Women’s in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and Senior Women’s in 2021, 2022. Susan West has the record with the most awards in one category with five consecutive Senior Women’s titles from 2016-2020.
2022 Alabama Amateur Players of the Year
Gordon Sargent of Birmingham wins his third consecutive Men’s Player of the Year award. A sophomore at Vanderbilt University, Sargent won the 2022 NCAA Division I Individual Men’s Championship in a four-man playoff becoming one of only nine freshmen in history to win the title and the first freshman to do so in 15 years (2007, Jamie Lovemark).
In 2022, Sargent claimed the Mossy Oak Collegiate Championship title and finished second in stroke play at the SEC Championship. Sargent had top-five finishes in the Linger Longer Invitational, Mason Rudolph Championship, NCAA Palm Beach Regional, Northeast Amateur, SEC Match Play, and Ben Hogan Collegiate Invite. Overall, Sargent recorded 11 top-ten finishes and advanced to the Round of 64 at the U.S. Amateur in 2022.
Recently, Sargent accepted an invitation to compete in the 2023 Masters Tournament and is the first amateur to receive a special invitation since Aaron Baddeley in 2000. Currently he is the third-ranked golfer in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Sargent has three career AGA State titles – 2019 Alabama Boys State Junior Championship; 2020 and 2021 Alabama State Amateur Championship. He is a two-time Alabama Boys State Junior Player of the Year (2019-2020) and now a three-time Alabama Men’s Player of the Year (2020-2022).
Michaela Morard of Huntsville earns her first Alabama Women’s Player of the Year award. In 2022, she claimed the Alabama Women’s Stroke Play title and had top-ten finishes in the Women’s Southern Amateur, NCAA Stanford Regional, The Gold Rush, and the North & South Women’s Amateur Championship.
“Being the 2022 Women’s Player of the Year means so much to me,” Morard said. “This award was the last one that I had on my goal list in my time playing AGA events and I am so honored to be able to finally achieve that. The AGA has supported me ever since I started golf and I will be forever grateful for everything they have done for me.”
A junior at the University of Southern California, Morard now holds a total of 10 AGA Championship titles and is a four-time recipient of the Alabama Junior Girls Player of the Year award (2017-2020).
Shaw Pritchett of Montgomery achieves his first honor as the 2022 Alabama Senior Men’s Player of the Year. In 2022, Pritchett won the Alabama State Senior Four-Ball Championship title and finished second at the Southeast Mid-Amateur Four-Ball Senior Division with Jeff Taylor, finished tied for second at the Alabama State Senior Championship, advanced to quarterfinals in the Alabama State Senior Match Play Championship, placed fourth at the Dixie Mid-Master along with a T11 finish at the Alabama State Mid-Amateur Championship.
“I’m thrilled to be recognized as the AGA Senior Men’s Player of the Year,” said Pritchett. “I greatly appreciate being recognized for the success I had during 2022; it’s a true honor to be singled out of a group of amazing competitors in this state. As always, I would like to thank the Alabama Golf Association staff for the incredible job they do running our state golf tournaments. I’ve been fortunate to participate in their events for 40 years and look forward to seeing everyone again in 2023.”
Kathy Hartwiger of Birmingham collects her second consecutive Alabama Senior Women’s Player of the Year award. In a successful 2022 campaign both locally and nationally, she won two AGA state titles at the Alabama Women’s State Senior Four-Ball with Lea Green and the Alabama Women’s State Senior Match Play Championship. On the national stage, Hartwiger won the North & South Senior Women’s Championship and Women’s Eastern Senior Amateur Championship titles.
She also secured second-place finishes at the Alabama Women’s State Senior Amateur Championship, Amateur Golf Alliance Senior Women’s Amateur Championship, Women’s Southern Mid-Amateur Championship, and Women’s Southern GA Senior Amateur Championship. In USGA championships, she was a semifinalist at the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship in Alaska while advancing to the Round of 64 in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship in Florida.
Hartwiger has won a record 23 Alabama State Championships and six total Player of the Year awards. She recently relocated to Pinehurst, North Carolina.
“Alabama and the AGA will always hold a special place in my heart. There are no words to fully express the gratitude I feel for all the people through the years that made it possible for all golfers in Alabama to have the chance to compete in state events,” Hartwiger said. “Alabama is a model that many other states hold up as an example of how to serve all the golfers in their state. I’m honored and grateful to be the 2022 Senior Women’s Player of the Year. I’m saying goodbye to Alabama but my time there will never be forgotten and will forever be cherished.”
Nick Dunlap of Huntsville garners his second consecutive Alabama Junior Boys Player of the Year award. Now a freshman at The University of Alabama, Dunlap was ranked as the No. 1 junior golfer in the class of 2022, according to Golfweek. He was a semi-finalist at the 2022 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. He preceded the deep run in the U.S. Junior by participating at the 2022 U.S. Open Championship at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, via an exemption earned as the 2021 U.S. Junior Amateur Champion.
He notched additional starts at the Southern Amateur Championship and the U.S. Amateur Championship. Dunlap also had multiple top 10 finishes in AJGA events and claimed the title at the 2022 AJGA Polo Golf Junior Classic. Dunlap has one career AGA state title – Alabama Boys State Junior (2018) and three total Alabama Boys State Junior Player of the Year awards (2018, 2021-22).
“It means the world to be able to accept this award and finish my junior career where I started it, with the Alabama Golf Association,” Dunlap said.
Molly Brown Davidson of Springville captures her second consecutive Alabama Junior Girls Player of the Year award. A sophomore at Hewitt-Trussville High School, Davidson turned in an impressive season by winning two AGA state titles – Alabama Women’s State Amateur Championship and Alabama Girls State Junior Championship. She also qualified for the U.S. Girls Junior Championship advancing to the Round of 64.
Davidson also successfully made the cut competing as an amateur at her first professional event in the 2022 Epson Tour Tuscaloosa Toyota Classic. She had three additional victories on both the SJGT and AJGA junior circuits and was a member of the victorious 2022 Team Alabama at the Southern Junior Cup.
She now has three career AGA state titles and three Player of the Year Awards.
Featured image courtesy of Alabama Golf Association