Kimberly Dinh Defends in Michigan Women?s Amateur Starting Monday

  ROCHESTER – One year later Kimberly Dinh considers winning the Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship the highlight of her golf career, but it also left her wanting more.

  “It left me hungry for more success and I’m excited to go back and defend,” said the 29-year-old senior research specialist for Dow Chemical.

“It gave me great confidence that I could compete and then later in the summer when I played well at the U.S. Mid-Amateur (reached the round of 16) it made me want to go back and win that, too.”

  Dinh heads the field of 84 golfers who will play in the 106th Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship presented by Carl’s Golfland, June 13-17, at Great Oaks Country Club.

  Named for the towering oaks that line Great Oaks Boulevard leading to the club, Great Oaks is hosting the Women’s Amateur for the second time. The club previously hosted in 2009. Dinh, however, had never played the course until a practice round on June 5, and she liked what she found.

  “It’s a great course with greens that protect it and it tests your patience and precision, which I think is great for me,” she said. “You can’t over-power the course, I don’t think. The par 5s have enough stuff on them that going for them in two is a significant risk. I don’t think the tournament is going to be a birdie fest and that fits my game.”

  Dinh used her short game and wedges in turning back University of Michigan golfer Mikaela Schulz of West Bloomfield in the title match a year ago at Saginaw Country Club.

  “That will be the key for me, having my wedges sharp, and the rough was pretty long in spots, too, so hitting fairways is going to be important,” Dinh said.

  Dinh was diagnosed with COVID and had to withdraw from the recent GAM Women’s Mid-Amateur. She said she had a lingering cough and still can’t taste, but her golf game is in good shape.

  “I’m hitting it well, the best I have in a long time,” she said. “I’m excited.”

  Dinh is the only past champion in this year’s field, but Schulz, who won the GAM Women’s Championship after her runner-up in the Amateur last summer, is also back.

  Chelsea Collura of Riverview, who recently won the GAM Women’s Mid-Amateur, is in the field, and a host of the top collegiate golfers will be competing including University of Michigan golfer Anika Dy of Traverse City, Shannon Kennedy of Michigan State University and Beverly Hills, and Lilia Henkel of the University of Delaware and Grand Rapids.

  Top recent junior standouts Kate Brody of Grand Blanc, who is headed to the University of Wisconsin, Lauren Timpf of Macomb, Sophie Stevens of Highland, Bridget Boczar, the recent GAM Junior Kickoff winner from Canton who is headed to Oakland University, and Mia Melendez of Ann Arbor are playing.

   It will also be a tournament of sisters with Anika and Anci Dy of Traverse City, Bridget and Grace Boczar of Canton, Amaya and Mia Melendez of Ann Arbor and Abbie, Annie and Maggie Pietila of Ann Arbor.

  Ken Hartmann, senior director of competitions for the GAM, said Great Oaks is a perfect course for this championship.

  “It’s designed with the right yardages for players of all levels so there is a great selection of tees to use,” he said. “We had a great championship there in ’09. The club did a fabulous job for us. It will be nice to go back there.”

   The William Newcomb design was founded in 1971, and $3.5 million in master plan renovation work has been performed by McCumber & Associates since 2006.

   The course is a parkland style design that rolls over natural hills and a meandering stream runs through the property and has been utilized in the strategic design. Four sets of tee areas help make the course playable for players of all ages and abilities.

   “The bunkers are well-placed and the hills and elevation changes make it important to hit the ball to the right spots,” Hartmann said. “The winner will have to play a complete game.”

   In the 2009 Amateur at Great Oaks, Britney Hamilton of Lake Orion, then a Western Michigan University golfer, made a dramatic 20-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to beat Natalie Brehm of Mount Pleasant and Michigan State University 1-up in the championship match.