2018-2019 NCGA Players of the Year
December 2, 2019
NCGA Player of the Year—Jason Anthony
In 2018, a year after finally winning his first NCGA Player of the Year title, Fairfield resident Jason Anthony simply couldn’t get into any kind of rhythm.
“I struggled that year,” said Anthony, a member at The Olympic Club. “I didn’t shoot a round under 74 for six months.”
To get out of his funk, the 36-year-old began reading some books by instructor Bob Rotella and started talking more with friends on the course.
The efforts paid off. Following his down year, Anthony claimed his second NCGA Player of the Year title with a total of 1,796 points. Runner-up Matt Cohn came in at 1,219.
“The first one is always special, but after my struggles last year this one means more,” Anthony said.
Having won the 2018 NCGA Mid-Amateur Four-Ball, Anthony stayed in a groove in the early part of the year. He’d finish runner-up at the San Francisco City and NCGA Four-Ball Championship and picked up two more wins at the Alameda Commuters and NCGA Mid-Amateur.
Other highlights were a Round of 16 run at the California Amateur and a fifth place finish at the NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship.
“I was consistent. I played well all year,” said Anthony, who towards the end of the season began fighting achy knees. “Any NCGA event you win is special.”
NCGA Women’s Player of the Year—Annika Borrelli
During her freshman season last year at the University of San Francisco, Annika Borrelli led the Dons in scoring in three events.
Turned out, that great play later rolled over into the 2019 NCGA season. The Alamo resident earned Women’s Player of the Year honors thanks to a runner-up finish at the NCGA Women’s Amateur Championship, a semifinals run at the California Women’s Amateur and an eighth place finish at the California Women’s Championship. In all, Borrelli tallied 695 points to outdistance runner-up Nicole Schroeder (625).
“My NCGA season was the culmination of all the hard work and experience I had playing in my freshman year at USF,” Borrelli said. “I was very pleased with my level of consistent play and positive attitude all summer.”
For Borrelli, a huge part of it all was a decision to get fitted for new equipment. Due to strength training at USF, Borrelli’s swing had changed. She’d be fitted at her home club, Round Hill Country Club in Alamo.
“It’s the greatest honor to have my name on the NCGA Women’s Player of the Year trophy and to be a part of the rich history of the NCGA,” Borrelli said. “The organization has meant so much to me during my junior and now amateur career. To represent the women of the NCGA is something that I will cherish and carry with pride.”
NCGA Senior Player of the Year—Randy Haag
When you’re already an NCGA Hall of Famer, have won a record six NCGA Player of the Year crowns and an NCGA Senior Player of the Year title, there’s not much more to do.
Unless you’re San Francisco resident Randy Haag.
The Olympic Club member added to his already impressive resume’, winning a second NCGA Senior Player of the Year crown by finishing the season with 1,659 points. He’d squeak by defending champ Jeff Wilson (1,650) and third place finisher Mark Morgan (1,618).
The season came down to the Tracy Senior City Championship, where Haag locked up the title via a 6th place finish.
Through it all, the now 60-year-old fought through ankle and back injuries.
“It means more this year because I had to battle down the stretch,” Haag said. “It was a crazy finish which made it fun.”
Remarkably, Haag wouldn’t win a major title. But he numerous close calls. His finishes included three runners-up at the 2018 California Senior Amateur, NCGA Senior Valley Amateur and NCGA Senior Four-Ball, semifinals runs at the NCGA Senior Amateur Match Play Championship and San Francisco City Senior and a T-7 finish at the NCGA Senior Championship.
Over his last two seasons, Haag has finished at least tied for second nine times.
“I played pretty well in all of the tournaments,” Haag said. “The ankle kept me from doing everything I wanted to.”
NCGA Senior Women’s Player of the Year—Lynne Cowan
In a year where she was inducted into the NCGA Hall of Fame, longtime Rocklin resident Lynne Cowan again was on top of her game.
Already a two-time winner of the NCGA’s Senior Women’s Player of the Year Award (2016-17), Cowan earned her record third title by finishing the season with 1,495 points. She’d beat out fellow NCGA Hall of Famer Sally Krueger, who came in second at 1,190.
“I’m honored. It’s obviously another achievement,” said Cowan, a member at Sierra View CC. “It was a surprise. I thought Sally would get it because she played so well in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.”
Cowan’s season included wins at the NCGA Senior Women’s Championship and the WGANC Stroke Play Championship. The now 56-year-old also made the quarterfinals at the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, finished T-2 at the WGANC Champion of Champions and qualified to play in her first U.S Senior Women’s Open.
At the U.S. Senior Women’s Open, she’d play a practice round with eventual champ Helen Alfredsson.
“I had told her (Alfredsson) that she was going to win it,” Cowan said. “She was playing well. That was a really cool event for me.”
NCGA Super Senior Player of the Year—Chuck Richesin
Woodbridge Golf &Country Club member Chuck Richesin already had numerous close calls.
In 2015, he finished third in the Super Senior Player of the Year standings. A year later, fourth. In 2017 another third, and in 2018 it was fifth place.
This time, the 70-year-old Richesin got his turn at the top. He’d finish the season with 1,159 points, edging out runner-up and defending champ Ron Johnson, who came in at 1,134.
“It’s hard to believe. It shows that working on your game can produce some rewarding results,” Richesin said. “The competition is so amazing every event. Nothing I’ve done in golf can compare to this achievement.”
Wins for Richesin came at the Sacramento County Super Senior, Vintage Super Senior and Sacramento City Super Senior. Other big points producers were a T-5 finish at the NCGA Super Senior, a second place finish at the California State Fair Super Senior, a Round of 16 run at the NCGA Super Senior Match Play Championship and a quarterfinals appearance at the San Francisco City Super Senior.
“I had a number of events this year where I was able to get under par and keep going forward, not reversing direction,” Richesin said. “I was fortunate to keep up with the many talented gents competing the whole season.”