West Australian Minjee Lee has been crowned the Greg Norman Medal winner for a record third time at the 2023 PGA Awards held at Brisbane City Hall on Tuesday night.
A two-time winner on the LPGA Tour in 2023, Lee beat the strongest field of contenders in the award’s nine-year history, including reigning Fortinet Australian PGA Championship winner Cameron Smith, and Minjee’s younger brother, Min Woo Lee.
The PGA Awards also celebrates the extensive contribution of PGA professionals who have achieved great success in their own endeavours throughout the industry, with Cameron Smith’s coach and director of coaching at Queensland’s Pelican Waters Golf Club, Grant Field, named PGA National Coach of the Year – High Performance, for the third year in a row.
There was a second win in succession for Brisbane Golf Club with Asha Flynn taking out the PGA National Coach of the Year – Game Development while another Queenslander, Darren Richards from Nudgee Golf Club, was named the PGA National Management Professional of the Year.
Director of golf at Concord Golf Club, David Northey, received the award as the PGA National Club Professional of the Year, Declan McCollam, general manager of Prestige Golfshire Club in India was named PGA of Australia International Member of the Year and Seb Howell, from The Coast Golf Club in Sydney, was honoured as MyGolf Deliverer of the Year.
After an extended layoff at the start of the year, Minjee Lee’s results were initially underwhelming but when she found form, the 27-year-old refused to look back. She dispelled any thoughts of a form slump with a playoff loss to Jin Young Ko at the Cognizant Founders Cup and finished in the top 20 in each of her subsequent seven starts.
She briefly dropped outside of the top 10 in the world rankings before responding with her ninth LPGA Tour victory at the Kroger Queen City Championship. Three weeks later, Lee registered win No.10 at the BMW Ladies Championship in Korea to climb back to No.4 in the world.
PGA of Australia chief executive Gavin Kirkman said that in a hot field, Lee’s third Greg Norman Medal was just reward for another exceptional year.
“Minjee continues to represent Australian golf in the best way possible,” Kirkman said.
“To now have 10 wins on the LPGA Tour – including two major championships – at such a young age establishes Minjee as one of our greatest golfers of all time. And yet, I am sure there is much more to come.
“Given the success our golfers have enjoyed throughout the world this past year, I commend the judges on what must have been a very difficult decision to pick between such worthy candidates.”
Kirkman also commended the PGA professionals who were recognised for their outstanding contributions throughout the industry over the past 12 months.
“Our PGA professionals are at the core of how golfers experience our game and they have contributed significantly to the strong position we currently find ourselves in as an industry,” Kirkman added.
“From juniors to beginners, high performance pathways and the delivery of our services at golf facilities around the country, our PGA professionals are ensuring that those who engage in golf have a great experience each and every time.”
A chance to celebrate Australian golf’s highest achievers both on and off the golf course, the PGA Awards also served as the official launch of the 2023 Australian PGA Championship, to be played at Royal Queensland Golf Club, starting on Thursday.
The judges for the Greg Norman Medal were PGA of Australia chair Rodger Davis, WPGA Tour life member Karrie Webb, WPGA Tour president Julia Boland, PGA life member Peter O’Malley and PGA board member Ian Baker-Finch.
Judging of the Greg Norman Medal is based on a combination of objective and subjective criterion, with the panel taking many factors into consideration, including results and rankings.
There were more winners on the night with three-time tournament winner David Micheluzzi taking out the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia Player of the Year, Grace Kim awarded the Margie Masters Player of the Year and Queenslander Andre Stolz claimed the PGA Legends Tour Player of the Year for the second year running.
PGA awards winners’ list:
Greg Norman Medal: Minjee Lee
Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia Player of the Year: David Micheluzzi
PGA Legends Tour Player of the Year: Andre Stolz
Margie Masters WPGA Tour Player of the Year: Grace Kim
PGA of Australia National Coach of the Year – High Performance: Grant Field, director of coaching, Pelican Waters Golf Club, Queensland
PGA of Australia National Coach of the Year – Game Development: Asha Flynn, assistant professional, Brisbane Golf Club, Queensland
PGA of Australia National Club Professional of the Year – David Northey, director of golf, Concord Golf Club, New South Wales
PGA of Australia National Management Professional of the Year – Darren Richards, general manager, Nudgee Golf Club, Queensland
PGA of Australia International Member of the Year – Declan McCollam, general manager, Prestige Golfshire Club, Bengaluru, India
MyGolf Deliverer of the Year – Seb Howell, The Coast Golf Club, New South Wales