FARMINGTON HILLS – Sophie Stevens of Highland is already looking forward to next summer’s golf schedule, her last as a junior golfer before heading off to the University of Florida.
“I have little goals, big goals and all kinds in between before I go to college,” she said. “I want to play in as many tournaments as I can. I love to play and travel and I want to make the most of my last summer as a junior.”
Stevens, who turns 17 later this month, accomplished a lot in the 2022 golf season and topped the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) junior girls’ points list.
She has been named the GAM Junior Girls’ Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, Kyle Wolfe, director of junior golf 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. In November Nick Krueger of Spring Lake was named the Men’s Player of the Year, Kimberly Dinh of Midland was named the Women’s Player of the Year, Steve Maddalena of Jackson was named the Senior Men’s Player of the Year, Julie Massa of Holt was named the Senior Women’s Player of the Year and Randy Lewis of Alma was named the Super Senior Player of the Year.
Last week Drew Miller of East Lansing was named the Junior Boys’ Player of the Year. The GAM will announce the 15-and-under Players of the Year, the final age and gender category, in the next two weeks. The Players of the Year awards are presented by Carl’s Golfland.
Stevens, who is home-schooled, said she had a more consistent golf season in 2022 compared to 2021.
“I got comfortable shooting low numbers this year,” she said. “I made a lot of birdies, a lot more than I have in the past and that was a big factor in having a more consistent year, too. I played better week to week as the year went along. I’m definitely better than I was at the end of last year.”
Stevens, a GAM member through Prestwick Village Golf Club, qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur, won the GAM Women’s Championship, won the Michigan Junior Girls’ State Amateur Stroke Play title and won an AJGA tournament in Florida this fall. She totaled 1,825 points.
Kate Brody of Grand Blanc and Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, who has signed with the University of Wisconsin and was named Michigan’s Miss Golf this fall, was second with 1,250 points.
Grace Wang of Rochester Hills and Youth on Course Michigan, who won the Michigan Junior Girls’ State Amateur Champion and has made a verbal commitment to the University of Michigan’s golf program, was third with 1,083 points.
Elise Fennell of Caledonia and StoneWater Country Club, who recently committed to Illinois State University, was fourth with 875 points and Bridget Boczar of Canton and Youth on Course Michigan who played for Oakland University as a freshman this fall, was fifth with 730.
Stevens, who also won the GAM Women’s Tournament of Champions at the close of the golf season, said she spent last winter making changes in her golf swing. This winter she plans to play in at least one Florida tournament and continue to work on her complete game.
“I’m always trying to perfect it,” she said. “I’m pleased right now with my game, but there’s always something to work on.”
She called it an honor to win Player of the Year honors for a second consecutive year.
“The GAM always runs their tournaments so well and there is great competition in the state,” she said. “I’ve been playing against the best players of all ages in Michigan since I was really little because of the GAM and it has helped me sharpen my game so much.”
Wolfe said it was great to see Stevens open up her personality to other players and GAM volunteers and achieve some of her goals in 2022.
“The bogey-free rounds of 69-68 in the (Michigan Junior Girls’ Stroke Play at Forest Akers West) are as dominant a performance as I have seen in my time with the GAM,” he said. “Sophie is incredibly focused and puts in the work to earn her success. That’s the main reason she has been the top player in the state for the last few years, and it will be fun to watch her find more success next year as she transitions to the team component in college.”