Written By: Greg Johnson
FARMINGTON HILLS – In September Kimberly Dinh of Midland was the first Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) member to win the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, and 10 days ago her golf club, Midland Country Club, hosted a special celebration of that accomplishment.
“I’m still searching for perspective,” she said that night surrounded by friends and family at her club. “I mean, I exceeded all expectations and that happens so rarely in golf.”
The national championship put her far and away on top of the 2023 GAM Points List and Dinh has been named the GAM Women’s Player of the Year for the third consecutive year, Ken Hartmann senior director of competitions and USGA services, announced today.
Player of the Year point totals can be found on a pull down from the PLAY tab at GAM.org. Later this week the Men’s Player of the Year will be announced 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.
“Winning the U.S. Mid-Am made it an incredible season, but winning Player of the Year again is a nice cherry on top,” she said. “I’m so grateful for the opportunities I do get to compete. The competition I face in our Michigan tournaments pushes me, keeps me working on my game.”
Dinh, 31 and an associate research scientist at DOW Chemical, rallied from a 3-down deficit by winning six of the final seven holes to claim the 36th U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship on the North Course at Stonewall in Elverson, Pa. She beat Kelsey Chugg of Salt Lake City, Utah, the 2017 champion, 2-up in the title match.
That win, another win in the GAM Mid-Amateur Championship and a semifinal appearance in the Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship helped her build 1,090 Player of the Year points.
Chelsea Collura of Wyandotte, a member at West Shore Golf & Country Club, was a local qualifier medalist for the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur and winner of the GAM Women’s Tournament of Champions. She finished second with 635 points.
Anika Dy of Traverse City, a former University of Michigan golfer who played in the U.S. Women’s Amateur, GAM Women’s Champion and Oakland University golfer Bridget Boczar of Canton and Michigan Women’s Amateur Champion Katie Chipman of Canton rounded out the top five.
Dinh, who played collegiate golf at the University of Wisconsin, then played club golf as she made her way through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said she didn’t expect the level of success she has reached in golf.
“I knew golf would always be a part of my life but I didn’t think I would compete as much as I have,” she said. “One of the reasons I still compete is because during college I got a lot better and really learned to appreciate that when I put a lot of effort into it, I can improve so much. After MIT and back home working, I kind of just gave competitive golf another shot and it was so much fun. I kept competing and steadily getting better. It has all been so rewarding.”
Dinh, who started the year recovering from a snow skiing injured foot, called the summer of 2023 a parade of highlights. In addition to her state and national titles, she partnered with fellow GAM member Jasmine Ly, a University of Northern Illinois golfer, to make the cut in the LPGA’s Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, an annual LPGA team event at Midland Country Club.
“That was a huge thrill to make the cut with Jasmine in my hometown and at my club,” she said. “It was an incredible year and the crazy thing is next year promises to be incredible, too.”
In addition to winning the Mildred Gardineer Prunaret Trophy at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, Dinh also collected exemptions into the next 10 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championships, exemptions into the 2024 and 2025 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships and an exemption into the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open Championship.
“I’m crossing off bucket list items now,” she said.
Hartmann, who attended the reception at Midland Country Club, said Dinh’s win in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur was impressive on multiple levels.
“I’m not surprised at how well she had done state-wide, but the national championship, especially coming off an injury at the start of the season, playing against great players from around the world, that’s really an impressive accomplishment,” he said. “She understands the game so well and has a great short game. Like she said, you are not drawing a picture on the scorecard, just a number, and it isn’t always how you do it, but how many. She is strong mentally, doesn’t focus on bad shots and it sounds like she utilizes every minute of the day to find a way to be better.”