Jason Caron of Oyster Bay, New York; Ashley Grier of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania; and Omar Uresti of Austin, Texas, persevered through the unique circumstances associated with a global pandemic to capture respective 2020 PGA Professional, Women’s PGA Professional and Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year awards.
The trio will be honored in conjunction with the PGA of America’s Annual Meeting, Nov. 2-5, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Caron, the PGA Head Professional at Mill River Club, Inc. in Oyster Bay, began his year in strong fashion, emerging from a three-player playoff to win the 2020 PGA Stroke Play Championship. Caron authored two other wins in Metropolitan PGA Section play, winning the Section’s PGA Professional Championship in September, also in a playoff, before claiming a wire-to-wire, two-stroke victory in the 96th Long Island Open in October. He was subsequently named Metropolitan PGA Section Player of the Year.
Caron, 48, collected 625.000 total points, while Rod Perry of Port Orange, Florida, was runner-up with 590.350. Scott Berliner of Lake Luzerne, New York (565.000), was third and Ryan Vermeer of Omaha, Nebraska (548.750) 一 the 2018 and ‘19 PGA Professional Player of the Year 一 finished fourth.
“I’ve been playing well for about two and a half years now, but I feel like I really broke through in 2020,” said Caron, who was a member of the PGA Tour in 2000 and ‘03 and finished T-30 in the 2002 U.S. Open. “To (earn the PGA Professional Player of the Year award) means a ton. Just to have this on my playing resume, it’s a special accomplishment. It’s an honor to represent my fellow 29,000 PGA Professionals, the Met Section and Mill River, all who have encouraged me to play this game. My hats off to them.”
A PGA Assistant Professional at Overbrook Golf Club in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Grier tallied 327.500 points to earn her award. The bookend highlights of Grier’s year came with a T-3 finish in the Women’s Stroke Play at PGA Golf Club in February and a November victory in the Philadelphia Assistants Organization Open Championship at Kimberton Golf Club in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. She was later named the Philadelphia PGA Section’s Assistant Player of the Year.
Jennifer Borocz of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida (255.000), was runner-up to Grier, 36, while Sherry Andonian of La Quinta, California (230.000), and Joanna Coe of Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland (185), finished third and fourth, respectively. In 2019, Coe won the inaugural Women’s PGA Professional Player of the Year award.
“Anyone that knows me knows how much I love the game of golf and love competing,” said Grier, a member of the victorious 2019 Women’s PGA Cup Team and a seven-year veternan of the Duramed Futures Tour. “To see all of the hard work payoff is a great achievement that I am very proud of. I couldn’t have achieved this if it wasn’t for the support I received from (Overbrook PGA Head Professional) Eric Kennedy, all of my co-workers, and the membership at Overbrook. I know they are always there to cover for me or cheer me on when I am away at an event. It’s nice to win this award and to have something to show or share in a year that wasn’t (what we all expected it to be).”
A PGA Life Member, Uresti won eight times in 2020 一 four in his home Southern Texas PGA Section, four at his home away from home at PGA Golf Club 一 to garner his first player of the year citation from the PGA of America. Uresti’s top Section triumph came by two strokes in the Senior PGA Professional Championship at the Golf Club of Houston in May. At PGA Golf Club, the 52-year-old Uresti won the Quarter Century Championship in early January, the 32nd Senior PGA Professional Championship in October, then tacked on twice in a four-day span in early December, winning Events #1 and #2 of the PGA Tournament Series.
Uresti’s 733.800 points outpaced the 622.950 accumulated by runner-up Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio. Mike Small of Champaign, Illinois (645.000), took third and Scott Hebert of Traverse City, Michigan (587.000), fourth.
“It’s a real honor to earn this award because of all of the talented players that have won it in the past,” said Uresti, the 2017 PGA Professional Champion. “I know Bob (Sowards) was leading the points list late in the year and was dealing with a hip injury that was obviously hindering his play. We’re close friends and it was difficult to see him held back. He’s so talented. He won last year. To put my name on that same list, well, it feels great.”