LOUISVILLE, Ky (WTVQ / press release) – Andrew Stephens, Bruce Oldendick and Nick Johnston are the recipients of the Kentucky PGA’s ROLEX Player of the Year titles for the 2021 season.
These awards recognize the top players in KPGA-sanctioned competitions throughout the year. Many triumphant moments for Stephens, Oldendick and Johnston from April to October result in each receiving the highest accolades for their playing ability in the section.
Stephens is the ROLEX Larry Gilbert Player of the Year for the second time in a row. Due to this honor, the director of lessons at Stephens Golf Center will be released from the PGA TOUR’s Barbasol Championship in July 2022. This will be after his first appearance at the Barbasol Championship last summer, one of many memorable events Stephens has attended this season. The first impressive event of the year came in May at the state’s only US Open Local Qualifier, when he received medalists with five strokes after a round of 62 (-10) at Cherry Blossom Golf Club. While that achievement didn’t count towards the points earned for this Player of the Year award, it was a placemat for what was to come. Stephens won the 70th Kentucky PGA Professional Championship at Bowling Green Country Club in August, which earned him an exception at the 2022 PGA Professional Championship in Austin, Texas. Two weeks after this victory, he won Golf House Kentucky Classic # 3 at the Traditions Golf Club thanks to a round of 67 (-5). A multitude of other top five finishes that were scattered throughout the year ultimately led Stephens to oust Mitchell Moore with 408.5 points to secure the award for Player of the Year.
“My biggest achievement this year was winning the Section Championship at Bowling Green,” said Stephens. “It’s our biggest event of the year and every year our goal is to achieve quality for the PGA Professional Championship. being Player of the Year is an incredible honor. Since 2008 only three other players (Keith Ohr, Blake Watts, Grover Justice) have won this award, so it’s really special to add them to the history books. In 2022, my big game goals are to finish in the top 20 of the PGA Professional Championship to get a spot in the PGA Championship, make the cut in the Barbasol Championship and score three peat as Player of the Year in Section Three. These are really lofty goals that require a lot of hard work and good luck. Putting and driving distance are the two areas where I will really try to improve for 2022. Playing in the Barbasol Championship really opened my eyes to these holes in my game and they are necessary to improve my game next level. “
Like Stephens, Bruce Oldendick followed his 2020 Player of the Year title with another in 2021. This is the third time the Pendleton Hills Head Golf Professional has won this award after winning a resounding win at the 2018 Kentucky Senior PGA Professional Championship at Hurstbourne Country Club; won this competition for the fourth year in a row. That earned him a trip to Florida in October for the Senior PGA Professional Championship, where Oldendick was in the top ten after the first round and made the 36-hole cut in the national competition. But locally, Oldendick was almost unstoppable as he won low senior professional awards in four different KPGA events. He also finished T4 at the Kentucky Senior Open at Heritage Hill Golf Club. Each of these accomplishments helped him win the Player of the Year race by more than 3,000 points over Kirk Schooley.
“It’s been a good two years,” said Oldendick. “To be player of the year in our section is a great honor. I would like to thank David Bay, the owner of Pendleton Hills, for giving me the opportunity to play in these events. Personally, I want to get more specific with every club in my pocket. I want to learn how to play golf stress-free. But my biggest achievement this year is the number of people I’ve been able to help improve their games. In 2022, I aim to help more people with their game and get them to enjoy the game even more. “
Nick Johnston is the recipient of ROLEX Assistant Player of the Year, sponsored by Srixon | Cleveland | XXIO | ASICS. This is Johnston’s first ever Player of the Year title in the section, and it came out convincingly as that Assistant Golf Professional from Wildwood Country Club secured himself more than 1,000 points ahead of Daniel Iceman III. Johnston was dominant among the Pro-Pros as he was one of the winning teams at each of the three Pro-Pro events the section hosted that season, but his highlight of the year came at the South Park Country Club in the National Car Rental Kentucky held Assistant PGA Professional Championship. Johnston won that competition with a shot that earned him a spot in Florida for the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship, which will take place November 11-14. Johnston could even increase his points lead during this tournament to further show how good this year has been for him.
“It’s a great honor to be named Player of the Year in the Assistants / Associates division,” said Johnston. “In our section there are not only so many great players, but more great people. From working with Josh Griffin as assistant professionals to competing against other great players like Logan Watts, Daniel Iceman III, Austin Burke and Nick Newcomb to name a few. These experiences and friendships are the ones I really appreciate. I like to set myself goals every season, both professionally and personally. This award is always first on my list as I believe it will take a really great year to win. Seeing my name on the same list with other great professionals who have won this award means more to me than I can explain. I would like to personally thank two people. First my mother. There has not been a tournament I have entered that I have not received encouraging news before every tournament this year. I can’t thank her enough and her love and support mean the world to me. Second, Blake Watts. I am very grateful for the support, encouragement and friendly competition he has given me throughout the year. He always motivated me to improve every day; both on and off the course. He is a great mind to distract mind and has been a great mentor in my professional career. Finally, many thanks to the professionals for a great season! I look forward to seeing you all soon and representing Kentucky at the National Assistants Championship. “
The Kentucky PGA Section congratulates Stephens, Oldendick and Johnston on these awards and thanks them for their great portrayal of the KPGA. Each of these players and all tournament winners of the season will be at Dever | . honored EZ-GO Fall Members Conference on Monday December 6th at the Griffin Gate Marriott.
Click here to see the final scores for each Player of the Year race