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Steckowych Earns Second Consecutive Senior Player of the Year Award

November 19th, 2021

Concord, NH – As the 2021 golf season comes to a close, the New Hampshire Golf Association (NHGA) is proud to announce this season’s Player of the Year award recipients.  Earning this year’s honors are Jim Cilley (Laconia CC) claiming the Thomas J. Leonard Jr. Player of the Year award, Tara Watt (Derryfield CC) earning the NHWGA Player of the Year award, Bryce Zimmerman (Nashua CC) with the Kirk Hanefeld Junior Player of the Year award for the second-straight season and Craig Steckowych (Portsmouth CC) winning the Senior Player of the Year award for two consecutive years.
 
The NHGA’s Senior Player of the Year Award is in its 15th year of being awarded to the top senior golfer throughout the season.  Only seven golfers have received the honor including New Hampshire Golf Hall of Famers Bob Mielcarz and Phil Pleat.  This year Craig Steckowych has been awarded this honor for the second-straight season as he displayed his dominance among his fellow senior competitors.  His accomplishments this season include winning the Senior Match Play Championship for the fourth consecutive year, finishing second at the Stroke Play Championship and Senior Championship, fourth at the Mid-Amateur Championship and advancing to the Round of 16 at the New Hampshire Amateur Championship.
 
Steckowych has had a number of strong seasons over the years, including ones where he was named the Thomas J. Leonard Jr. Player of the Year.  For him, there is nothing in particular that keeps him motivated to keep going year after year, except the competition aspect of the game.  He said, “I’ve always enjoyed the competitive nature of golf.  To me, that is the ultimate nature of golf.”
 
He has competed against and played with players of all ages, another facet of the game he enjoys.  This season he went up against 14-year-old Josiah Hakala in the Round of 32 in the New Hampshire Amateur Championship, where Hakala took Steckowych to the 17th hole of the match.  He stated, “Golf doesn’t know how old you are and nor does it care.”

Thinking back to this season, he remembers the positive memories playing with his friends he has made through NHGA events and his victories, but he also reflects back on what might not necessarily be happy memories.  He commented, “I felt like I gave away my match at the State Amateur and I take it as a learning experience.”

Steckowych went up against Cam Sheedy, 2020 State Amateur Runner-up, in the Round of 16 at the New Hampshire Amateur Championship where Sheedy won the match in 20 holes.  It’s those experiences that Steckowych uses to improve his game.  He also thought back to playing in a tournament at his home club, Portsmouth CC, where he had to go up against his son Matt Steckowych in a match.  While Craig lost that match, he thinks back fondly on that memory as he described it as a “win-win” situation for him.  He got to play with his son and would have been happy with either outcome of that match.

While Steckowych claims the Senior Player of the Year title, his game still stacks up against all the players in the state.  When it comes to the Players Invitational, held each year at Baker Hill GC, he chooses to compete in the Regular division to test his game against the younger guys.

The NHGA is excited to be able to award Steckowych with the Senior Player of the Year honor for the second consecutive season.