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Kim & Lyerly Earn NC Jr. Players of Year

SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. (January 4, 2017) – Gina Kim of Chapel Hill and Nicholas Lyerly of Salisbury have been named the 2016 N.C. Junior Players of the Year by the Tarheel Youth Golf Association (TYGA) and the Carolinas Golf Association (CGA). The N.C. Junior Player of the Year award recognizes one girl and one boy who have had the most successful year in amateur and junior golf events at the local, state, regional and national levels.


Kim, a 16-year-old junior at Chapel Hill High School, was also named the N.C. Girls’ Player of the Year in 2014.  In 2016 Kim won five junior tournaments.  Her wins included the CGA Vicki DiSantis Girls’ Championship, the PKBGT Tar Heel Classic, the AJGA Rolex Girls, the NCHSAA 3A Central Regional and she repeated as the NCHSAA 3A Girls’ state champion. Along with her wins, Kim represented the USA in the Junior Ryder Cup and was named a first team Rolex All-American. 

“It has been a lot of fun watching Gina grow into one of the best junior golfers in the country,” said Kim’s instructor Ed Ibarguen. “I fully expect her to achieve goals such as All-ACC and All-American honors during her collegiate years. There is no doubt in my mind that she will win many tournaments in college and then have an outstanding career on the LPGA Tour. She is now and will become even more so in the future ‘a star’ golfer,” added Ibarguen. 

In the 12 events Kim played in 2016, she placed outside the top 10 just once and finished the year with a stroke average of 71.83. Kim has verbally committed to play collegiate golf at Duke University.



Lyerly, a 17-year-old high school senior at East Rowan High School, earns his second consecutive N.C. Junior Boys’ Player of the Year honor. In 2016 Lyerly won five tournaments with his biggest win becoming the youngest champion of the North Carolinas Amateur. His other notable wins included the TYGA North State High School Challenge, the Rowan Junior Open, and the NCJGF Irish Creek Fall Classic. 

“Nicholas has demonstrated for years what a true student athlete is," said UNC-Greensboro Men’s Golf Coach Terrance Stewart. "Through his dedication and passion for the game, he has begun to realize and show his true potential.  UNC-Greensboro is looking forward to have him represent the school and I look forward to cheering him on for the next four years," added Stewart. 

In the 22 events Lyerly played during 2016, he finished outside the top 15 only once and had a scoring average of 70.83. Lyerly has committed to play college golf at UNC-Greensboro.

The Player of the Year awards were determined by a combination of each player’s tournament scoring differential and the total points earned in the TYGA N.C. rankings events from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016.

These outstanding juniors, along with the 2016 N.C. All-State Girls’ and Boys’ teams, will be honored at the N.C. Junior Golf Night Awards Banquet on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C.

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