Kelly Shon is the first Princeton women’s golfer in 16 years to earn All-America honors, an accomplishment confirmed Wednesday when the Women’s Golf Coaches Association announced its All-America teams.
“This is a very prestigious honor, one that recognizes a player’s performance throughout the year,” Princeton head coach Nicki Cutler said. “Kelly is obviously talented, but it is her unwavering work ethic that sets her apart from her competitors. I am very proud of Kelly’s accomplishments thus far and I look forward to seeing her continue to develop. She will be a great leader for us next year as a senior captain.”
Shon was selected as an honorable mention All-America by the WGCA, one of 40 golfers to earn an All-America selection, whether on the first team, second team or honorable mention. That number is less than a third of the size of the NCAA Regional or NCAA Championship field in which Shon played during the last month.
As a junior this season, Shon earned an individual selection to the NCAA East Regional for the third time in her career, joining Avery Kiser ’05 and Mary Moan ’97 as the only Tigers to play in three NCAA regionals. She finished second at the regional tournament and earned a bid to the NCAA finals, joining Moan as the only players in Ivy League history to advance to the NCAAs.
At the NCAA finals, Shon tied for 37th, placing herself in the top third of the NCAA field in her first appearance in the event. She set Princeton records for lowest score to par in an NCAA event with her -7 at the NCAA Regional, and her finish at the finals was also the best in Princeton or Ivy history.
“Kelly’s campaign to rewrite our record books is impressive when you consider the caliber of player who has competed for us over the years,” Cutler said.
Before she earned the NCAA bid, Shon became the first Tiger since Susannah Aboff ’09 to win the Ivy League individual championship and also earned the Ivy League Player of the Year award, a coach-selected honor determined by play over the course of the year. Shon and Aboff are the only two Tigers to win the honor, which was created in 2009, giving Princeton three of the five Ivy Players of the Year since the award’s inception.
With the NCAA season having come to a close, Shon will continue playing in USGA events, of which she has already partaken in 10 during her career. Qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open, which runs from June 27-30 at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., continues through the end of May, and qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Amateur, which is August 5-11 at the Country Club of Charleston in South Carolina, runs July 1-16.