FARMINGTON HILLS – Kimberly Dinh of Midland tends to put too much pressure on herself in pursuit of playing well in competition.
“I get back in the grind of it, chase my goals and forget to make sure I’m having fun doing it,” she said. “I enjoy it more when I embrace the ups and downs of tournament golf. It doesn’t always go the way you want.”
For example, Dinh felt she played poorly in June while defending her 2021 Michigan Women’s Amateur title.
“Then I played much better in the (U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship) and I let myself enjoy the experience,” she said. “I just wanted to play as well as I could and I let myself just play.”
Dinh eventually reached the match play quarterfinals in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur at Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Myers, Fla., where she fell to the eventual champion, Krissy Carman, 4 and 3.
That performance helped her top the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) Points List and she has been named the GAM Women’s Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, Ken Hartmann senior director of competitions and USGA services for the GAM, announced today.
Player of the Year point totals can be found on a pull down from the PLAY tab at GAM.org. Earlier this week Nick Krueger of Spring Lake was named the Men’s Player of the Year and over the next few weeks the GAM will announce more Players of the Year in gender and age categories. The GAM Players of the Year are presented by Carl’s Golfland.
Dinh, 30 and a GAM member through Midland Country Club, keyed her season with the U.S. Mid-Amateur run and topped the list with 635 points. A Senior Research Specialist for Dow Chemical in Midland, she paired her four weeks of vacation from work with tournaments.
Laura Bavaird of Trenton, a GAM member as the director of the GAM Foundation, was second with 445 points. Bavaird also made a run in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, ironically falling in the round of 32 to Dinh, 5 and 4.
Sophie Stevens of Highland and Prestwick Village Golf Club, the GAM Women’s Champion this summer, was third with 415 points.
The Dy sisters from Traverse City and Bay Meadows Family Golf Course, Anika and Anci, finished fourth and fifth with 405 and 365 points respectively. They forged a notable golf season moment when they squared off in the championship match of the Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship at Great Oaks Country Club. Anci, a University of Indianapolis golfer, bested her older sister, Anika, who plays for the University of Michigan, in a dramatic 21 holes.
Dinh called winning the Player of the Year an unexpected bonus.
“I don’t play in a ton of tournaments so I want to play great in those I get a chance to play in, especially the GAM tournaments,” she said. “They are run so well. The competition is the best players in our state and everybody is friendly. To be the Player of the Year again is exciting. I really wasn’t expecting it.”
Dinh said her highlight golf moment of the summer wasn’t on the GAM or USGA schedule. She played with fellow GAM member Chaithra Katamneni of Midland against the LPGA stars as a two-person team in the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational (72-hole, $2.5 million foursomes and four-ball LPGA Tour competition).
“That was a great thrill getting to play in my hometown against the LPGA players,” she said. “It’s rare that you get to play in your hometown, so to do that and represent the golfers from here and have family and friends out to watch was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We didn’t make any putts and we missed the cut, but we didn’t play poorly and I know I enjoyed every minute out there, especially seeing all the people I’ve met over the years through golf.”
As for next year, Dinh plans a similar schedule.
“I still set goals – I like to have a carrot to chase when I get a chance to practice,” she said. “I still enjoy playing and I feel I can get better in a lot of areas and get better at getting the ball in hole. Also, for me, golf has a social aspect that I enjoy. I enjoy just getting out with friends, and I enjoy competition. With most of the tournaments I play, it is a bit of both.”
Hartmann said Dinh finds a way to compete with the younger players who have more time and opportunities to play and practice.
“She is intelligent, works hard on her game when she has the time and obviously works on the right things,” he said. “She had a great performance in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. She’s a threat to win any tournament she plays in because she hits it long enough and has a good short game. She has the skills to play and has a great approach to it all. She grinds but doesn’t over work herself, and she seems to enjoy doing it.”