By: Rick Bender
HANOVER, N.H. — The Ivy League announced its postseason awards for women’s golf this morning, and Alex Kirk, Dartmouth’s Carolyn A. Pelzel ’54a Head Coach, was chosen by his peers as the Coach of the Year.
Kirk guided the Big Green squad to its best finish ever at the Ivy League Championship last weekend as Dartmouth placed second, just six strokes behind Harvard, with a 907 (+43) at The Ridge at Back Brook in Ringoes, New Jersey. That 907 is also the team’s best score at the championship, besting last year’s 935.
For the second straight year, two of Kirk’s players earned All-Ivy League honors with freshman Kaitlyn Lees making the first team by finishing third at the championship and junior Maddie Nelson the second team by virtue of tying for eighth. Lees is just the fourth Big Green player to make the first team in the program’s 23 years competing in the conference, and the second in the last three seasons.
“I am honored to be recognized by my peers, but the players are the one that have earned the award with me,” Kirk said. “Dartmouth women’s golf has grown and improved as a team and our golf scores reflect the hard work.”
Kirk, the head professional at the Hanover Country Club as well, just completed his seventh season guiding the Big Green. He has overseen the improvement of the program as Dartmouth finished fifth at the championship the last two years, its best showing until this year since the 2004 squad tied for third. The Green have continued to close the gap between themselves and the top of the leaderboard, finishing 24 strokes behind the leader last year for their smallest deficit ever until besting that margin this year.
A veteran of New England golf, Kirk has been a Class A Member of the Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) since 1999, and is the President of the New Hampshire PGA (NHPGA) after serving as the Vice President for three years. He is also currently the District Director on the New England PGA (NEPGA) Board of Directors and was a member of the PGA President’s Council on Growing the Game from 2006-10.
This is the fifth year the league has named a Coach of the Year. The Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards went to the same golfer, Yale’s Ami Gianchandani.