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CGA Honors Its Best

Oraee, Delich, Thayer, Welch earn player of year awards

by Gary Baines - 11/9/2015

David Oraee considerably bolstered his Colorado golf resume by winning two state amateur titles in a 14-month period in 2013 and '14.

This year, the Greeley native made headway on a national level while also claiming low-amateur honors at the HealthOne Colorado Open, all of which earned the 22-year-old CGA Les Fowler Player of the Year honors for 2015.

Oraee (left), who completed his University of Colorado golf career in May, is one of four players of the year for 2015 recently selected by the CGA. David Delich of Colorado Springs was named CGA Senior Player of the Year for the second time, while Chris Thayer of Denver earned CGA Mid-Amateur Player of the Year honors, and Coby Welch of Highlands Ranch was selected CGA Junior Player of the Year.

Oraee, winner of the 2013 CGA Match Play and the 2014 CGA Stroke Play, becomes the ninth current or former CU player since 2000 to earn the Les Fowler Player of the Year award. In that regard, he joins Derek Fribbs (2013), Pat Grady (2007 and '08), Derek Tolan (2005), Steve Irwin (2004), Kane Webber (2003), Ben Portie (2001) and Matt Call (2000).

Last May, after placing second in an NCAA regional tournament, Oraee became the first CU golfer since 2008 to earn a spot in the NCAA Championship Finals, where he started off with a 71 before eventually finishing in 126th place individually to wrap up his CU career.

Oraee, who competed in 50 tournaments all told for CU, finished with the fourth-best stroke average in program history (73.57).

"Over four years, he basically exceeded all expectations you can have for any player," CU coach Roy Edwards said.  "The consummate teammate, golfer, student, person -- the total package.  I think we should all look back on his career with great fondness.  He did about everything you can do as a player and as a Colorado Buffalo."

Two months later, the former state high school champion earned low-amateur at the Colorado Open and finished 21st overall.

Then the high point of Oraee's year was his performance after qualifying for the U.S. Amateur for the first time. At the national championship in Olympia Fields, Ill., he finished second out of 312 players in the stroke-play portion of the event with consecutive rounds of 67.

Oraee won his first match after being 2 down with four holes left, and eventually advanced to the final 16. There, he faced the amateur sensation of the year, Ireland's Paul Dunne, who just the month before was a co-leader at the British Open going into the final round.

In a match that was featured on Fox Sports 1's national telecast, Dunne ended Oraee's run in the Sweet 16, 3 and 2.

Oraee plans to turn pro in 2016 before likely eventually going to medical school.

Delich (left) receives CGA Senior Player of the Year honors for the second time in four years.

The former Colorado College hockey standout won the CGA Senior Match Play for the third time, becoming the sixth person to claim that title at least three times. Delich has captured five CGA individual championships over the years, plus two senior titles conducted by the Southern California Golf Association.

Delich, who plays out of The Broadmoor Golf Club, also qualified for two USGA championships in 2015: the U.S. Senior Open, along with the U.S. Mid-Amateur for the fourth time.

In addition, Delich and teammate Ben Hargis of Alexandria, La., won the senior division of the annual Charlie Coe Invitational at Castle Pines Golf Club.

Thayer (left) has had a very strong run since last September, when he won the CGA Mid-Amateur Championship, ending Keith Humerickhouse's streak of consecutive titles in the event at four.

While the player from Bear Creek Golf Club didn't add another state championship in 2015, he was certainly in contention on numerous occasions. Thayer finished runner-up to Michael Harrington at the CGA Mid-Amateur Match Play, and was second in his title defense to Jon Lindstrom at the Mid-Amateur stroke play.

Thayer was also eighth in the CGA Stroke Play, and third (with Jadon Wiens) at the CGA Four-Ball.

Welch had a busy and successful summer in the junior ranks.

The now-senior at Valor Christian High School won the Colorado Junior Golf Association 14-18 Junior Series Championship, becoming the first person to sweep the titles in all three age groups of the tournament.

Welch (left) finished seventh individually at the Junior America's Cup, leading the way for a Colorado team that matched its best finish ever in the event by placing third.

Part of the Hale Irwin Elite Player Program, Welch qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur and was the highest finisher at the national meet (121st). He placed second in both the Colorado PGA Junior Championship and the 4A state high school meet. At that 4A tournament, Welch's Valor squad won its third consecutive state team title.

Welch, who has verbally committed to play his college golf at Northern Colorado, shot 62 in one round during his high school season.

Welch also posted top-10 finishes at the CJGA Tournament of Champions (fifth), the CGA Junior Stroke Play (sixth) and in the inaugural AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior (ninth).

In addition, the Colorado Junior Golf Association has honored junior players for their golf and academic accomplishments in 2015:

CJGA All-Star Team
Christian Agelopoulos
Pierce Aichinger
Katie Berrian
Chunya Bead Boonta
Camden Braidech
Davis Bryant
Emma Bryant
Caitlyn Chin
Amy Chitkoksoong
Sofia Choi
Delaney Elliott
Walker Franklin
Elijah Harp
Thomas Hicks
Jack Hughes
Jordan Jennings
Anna Jordaan
Caroline Jordaan
Marie Jordaan
Jasmine Kahler
Jennifer Kupcho
Katherine Malcolm
Brittlynn O'Dell
Yusuke Ogi
AJ Ott
Eshaan Palanati
Isaac Petersilie
Bielly Phasay
Hannan Reed
Morgan Sahm
Ryan Sangchompuphen
Hailey Schalk
Timbre Shehee
Amisha Singh
Jackson Solem
Blake Sullivan
Gillian Vance
Mary Weinstein
Coby Welch
Ashleigh Wilson
Liam Wood
Tyler Zhang
CJGA Academic All-Star Team
Christian Agelopoulos
Amy Alonzi
Drew Anderson
Cameron Barnhardt
Julia Baroth
Kirby Berke
Katie Berrian
Brandon Bervig
Molli Boruff
Connor Burke
Logan Byler
Isaac Calden
Ben Carrington
Cole Chalmers
Alexis Chan
Alyssa Chin
Caitlyn Chin
Benjamin Chin
Sofia Choi
Paul  Cleveland
Jake Dost
Delaney Elliott
Brynn Ellis
Nolan Farrar
Kaden Ford
Rhett Fruitman
Danny Gallant
Sarah Gallant
Jake Garrett
Elliott Gitt
Merielle Gojo
Grant Hengsteler
Thomas Hicks
Mark Hillary
Charlotte Hillary
Patrik Holmes
Tomas Holmes
Cristian Holmes
Jordan Jennings
Jake Johnson
Max Johnson
Marie Jordaan
Caroline Jordaan
Anna Jordaan
Callie Kloenne
Cassandra Kneen
Cole Krantz
Jennifer Kupcho
Luke Kusserow
Blake Kuzava
Will Leary

David Leede
Lauren Lehigh
Katelyn Lehigh
Davis Long
Mason Macias
Kaylee Macias
Max Malden
Justin Markel
Fischer Matthews
Madison McCambridge
Matt Mccartney
Natasha McClain
Thomas McCloskey
Sarah McDevitt
Aryn McLaughlin
Glen-Michael Mihavetz
Wes Moran
Hannah More
Jaclyn Murray
Roger Nakagawa
Brittlyn O'Dell
Anju Ogi
Kota Ogi
Yusuke Ogi
Luke Olkowski
Gracie Olkowski
Trevor Olkowski
Canon Olkowski
AJ Ott
Eshaan Palanati
Desiree Pater
Daniel Pearson
Kira Peteresen
Xavier Petrosky
Hattie Poole
Wesley Poole
Sydney Prey
Makena Prey
Haley Prey
Keaton Rich
Lauryn Rivale
Larissa Roberts
Jihyun (Anna) Roh
David Roney
Ben Rosenthal
Meghan Royal
Mason Royal
Kailer Rundiks
Ryan Sangchompuphen
Erin Sargent
Jacob Shelton
Parker Skiles
Nathan Smith
Jackson Solem
Micah Stangebye
Blake Sullivan
Samuel Taylor
Charles Thornton
Hunter Tuite
Chadd Vasquez
Brittain Walton
Mary Weinstein
Coby Welch
Jake  Welch
Liam Wood
Alex Yano
Ryan Zetwick
Tyler Zhang
Ben Zimmerman
Ryan Zoellner
Zach Zurcher

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